Belief & Unbelief by Barbara G. Walker

Criticisms

In the inscription of the copy of her book to me, Barbara calls me “a great editor,” based on my work on her book Man Made God, which I published through Stellar House. Man Made God was a monumental work, replete with Walker’s fabulous writing, which I edited diligently, adding numerous subtitles, footnotes both with annotations and without and illustrations. Her writing in general is so good and meticulous that it required but a few tiny changes here and there. Hence, I can understand why the editor of Belief & Unbelief readily put together this tome, but there are some inconsistencies with punctuation (as on quotes) and citations, and the editing lacks the thoroughness that Barbara deserves. Ultimately, however, this diligence deficiency does not detract one whit from Walker’s wisdom.

As a related aside, Man Made God was publicized in an article on Christmas in December 2014 on CNN.com entitled “Where Christmas really came from”:

Scholars have been all over this, going back to one of the earliest Christian writers, St. Epiphanius of Salamis, who noted the similarities. (The details of this connection will be found in a recent book by Barbara G. Walker and D.M. Murdock, “Man Made God: A Collection of Essays”.)

A lengthy discussion of Epiphanius and the Egyptian practice of bringing out a babe in a manger at winter solstice can be found also in my book Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection.

Iranian woman speaks out on ‘respecting religion’

Thank you! This is very well written and important, coming from an Iranian woman whose native culture has been usurped by an oppressive foreign invader cult.

I hope many more Iranians are able to loosen these binds of bigoted religious oppression.

—–

Mansoureh Nasserchian Soroor:

We hear a lot about respecting ideas of other people. The issue we miss is how much respect and in what price. We need to respect people as mutual respect and if some people have no respect for themselves how do we respect them. Also I can’t force myself to respect negative ideas which come through illogical traditions and ideology. If those traditions and ideology telling me I can’t eat food from non Muslim hands because they are filthy(najes), I can’t marry with non Muslim but our men can do that, how I am going to respect to this idea?

If girls wearing modern clothing and talking to boys and their father or brother allowed to kill those girls to save their “honour” how I am going to respect this destructive idea? if a hand of poor man who forced to do robbery due to lack of employment(robbery is immoral and illegal, no justification about wrongdoing) should be amputated and put him in more misery how could I respect the idea that coming from ideology?

I am not talking about racism against certain races it is about destructive ideas. How the society ask me to respect the backward ideas which have no respect for women and consider them as half of men and easily could stone them as a result of adultery.

Some might argue in Christianity and Judaism there are similar “laws” but do western societies impose them on people? No! That’s why gay marriage have been discussed in western countries and they move forward the law in support of minorities. Then, this argue is not valid in the first place.

No government should direct people forcefully to “heaven” as Iran regime have been doing it by puting their nose in private matter of people’s life. We need to distinguish why we should respect ideas which humiliate us as human beings.

Do we encourage bullies to bully others? No! We educate them and limit their negative behaviour by imposing law.
Soror

Hi there –

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Why is the cow sacred to Hindus?

(This article was written by Indian scholar Murali Chemuturi)

 Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and some Buddhists consider the cow to be sacred so much so that they worship it. Why is it so? Is it some blind belief or superstition? Is it because of some mysterious powers the cow enjoys and grants them to its worshippers?

 Mystical powers are indeed attributed to a cow by its devotees. It is very difficult to prove them as is the case with most miracles. But it has real physical powers and it is easy to prove them In fact, some of its powers are already recorded.

For example this web site records the benefits of cow’s milk. http://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/nutrition/nutrition+tips/which+milk+is+best+for+your,16541

Even WHO finds that cow milk is the best (http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=130 )

What is widely believed and personally seen by me are the benefits that I enumerate here. But before moving further, cows come in many varieties and are fed with differing diets. Cows are natural herbivores. But they are fed with manufactured feed with added chemicals and meat/beef/pork to increase milk production. Cows come in two varieties mainly with a hump and without a hump. Cows with a hump are local to India but are found in other Asian countries. Cows without hump are local to Europe and are found everywhere including in India. European cows give much more milk than Indian cows. When I refer to the benefits of cow milk, I am referring to Indian cow that has a hump.

I am enumerating here the benefits of cow milk. First, it is the closest alternative to mother’s milk for an infant. Even a day-old infant can ingest and digest cow milk without any issues. Second, regular and continued use of cow milk in daily food intake increases the immunity of the individual. Here I give a personal example. My grandson who was born in USA was having health issues for more than a year. He was having ear infection and fever at least once a month. He was operated in the ear and some tubes were inserted to prevent ear infection. He came to India recently. I was terrified; the hygiene is worse here; the air quality is worse; the water quality is bad. All people coming from USA to India, even if they are Indians, drink only bottled water. There are mosquitoes on top of everything. Our homes are not insulated and we keep our doors open all day. But, thank God, he stayed for three months and did not suffer with ear infection or fever even one single day. We never had to visit a doctor. The difference, we use cow milk every day along with other cow products which I am going to enumerate below.

The second cow product is the ghee. Ghee is virtually unknown to Americans. It is produced by heating the butter. When butter is heated at moderate temperatures, it becomes a liquid like oil. Butter cannot be stored long outside the fridge. Ghee can be stored outside the fridge for as long as you want. Regular consumption of ghee of about four ounces (about 100 grams) everyday will increase the immunity in the person so much so, that no disease can attack him. Another personal example, I cite here. In the year 2000 I suffered a malady and was hospitalized. I lost 70% of my eyesight and totally the capacity of spatial orientation. I could not locate bathroom from my bed room in a house, I built! It resulted in diabetes. It took about two months to improve my eyesight where I can see with the help of highest powered glasses. Worse, I lost a large part of my memory. I lost my knowledge of information technology which was my profession. I was getting insulin shots for my diabetes. Then I started consuming cow ghee from 2004. By 2007, my eyesight was fully restored and I do not have to use even reading glasses even now and I am 63 years old! Fluorescent light is adequate for me to read the newspaper. I regained my knowledge. I developed a few software products which sold internationally though in a small quantity. I do not receive any customer complaint from my clients. Beginning with 2008, I authored five books on IT and one book on Personality Engineering and translated Indian epic Raamayana! I also authored many technical and other papers which are read by more than a hundred thousand people all over the world. Nobody is yet to pan my articles as junk. I attribute the spurt in my intellectual capacity to cow ghee.

Third is cow’s curds. Eating rice mixed with cow curd will increase the thickness and rebuilds the stomach lining. It will prevent and cure (albeit very slowly) the stomach ulcers. Any other curd with rice induces sleep but cow curd makes one very alert.

Fourth is the urine of the cow. Don’t thumb your noses, please! It is a panacea. There was a poor man near my house and he suffered a massive heart attack when he was about 50 years old. He is too poor to pay for the wonderful modern medicine. Hospital discharged him after the initial week as he was not able to pay for his treatment. His wife collected urine from the cows and fed it to him at least once a week for a year. She gave him half a liter per dose. He lived on for 25 more years an almost healthy life and died of old age at 75! When I was sick and afflicted with diabetes and taking insulin I was at my wit’s end not knowing how to improve my condition. Then one day a cow came in front of my house and urinated. My wife collected a glassful (about half a liter) and fed it to me. Believe it or not, I began improving. That made me switch to cow milk and cow ghee. Even this article is a result of that.

Fifth is the cow dung. Perhaps, that is the only excrement of an animal including human beings that has a nice aroma. It has disinfectant properties. Until recently, the front yards of Indian houses used to be sprinkled with water mixed with cow dung to prevent infections. There is a city in India named Vaaraanasi or Benares. It is perhaps the filthiest city in the world and it is the most sacred place for Hindus.  While it is so filthy, the city is perhaps the only city in India to be free of mosquitoes! I visited that place with dread in my heart about the probable damage to my health but surprisingly I was not affected at all. How so? Cows roam the streets of Vaaraanasi freely, urinate and defecate at every place. The roads are filled with cow urine and cow dung which prevent all germs from spreading and destroy them. So the city remains healthy. I came back healthier. It is also used as medicine in Ayurveda system of medicine.

Cow dung is made into cakes and dried. Then they are used for cooking in homes. The fire from the cakes of the cow dung produce intense heat to such a level that they are used for smelting ores to extract metals in India till recently. Second the smoke from the fire of the cow dung cakes has a pleasant aroma besides acting as a disinfectant to dispel mosquitoes. They also burn longer. The cake of the cow dung is much better than any firewood for cooking or superheating. The ashes that come from burning the cakes made of cow dung has medicinal properties. When you apply it to your body, mosquitoes or other insects do not approach the person or bite him. That is why the ascetics of India apply those ashes generously to their body. Another excellent use of those ashes is to polish gold ornaments and the glass. If you clean the windshield of a car with those ashes, the glass not only becomes spotlessly clean but also do not allow water to stick to the glass or obstruct your vision during rainfall.

Why are scientists not able to discover these benefits? Research is funded by businesses. They want results in a short time say one or two years. At most they may wait for five years. To produce a statistically significant sample of results longer periods of study is required. Only empirical studies are possible from past records. And these are not available.

You can check all these facts. A visit to Vaaraanasi would convince you. But as I repeat the cow must be of Indian variety with a hump; it should be fed only grass; and it should be allowed o roam freely. You may ask why I did not take these from the beginning. The reason is that cow ghee and milk are very costly. Now, cow urine is not available freely – it is bottled and sold. When something is bottled, I suspect dilution and adulteration. Even cow dung is sold. Are these products available in USA? Cow ghee is available in Indian stores across USA and it is of good quality. Cow milk and curds are perhaps not available. Unless cows are there, urine and dung are not available. But cow ghee alone is very potent.

That is the reason why the cow is considered sacred and worshipped.

Miguel’s talk

I’ve noticed that people are citing various individuals as “leading experts” in the field of mythicism, when they truly are not. On the contrary, most are ignorant of the massive body of mythicist literature dating back hundreds of years. Therefore, they should not be touted as “experts,” as this assessment is misleading as to what mythicism is really about.

As far as I know, of the prominent people writing in English in the field of questioning whether or not Jesus is a mythical figure, only Zindler, Price and I are experts on the mythicist literature itself and therefore its history.

Earl Doherty, Ken Humphreys, Raphael Lataster and Christian Lindtner also have a good grasp on it, although I do not believe they (or Price) have studied it as extensively as Zindler and I have. We seem to be a dying breed, to be replaced by those who simply doubt but who are not experts on this literature and in this field specifically.

I should add that there are many relative unknowns who are MUCH more knowledgeable about the field of mythicism than several individuals in the public eye.

These would include people on my forum such as Freethinkaluva, Robert Tulip, Tat and GodAlmighty. Miguel Conner also is much more of an expert in the mythicist literature than these others in question. I think it does a great disservice to these individuals who have put in the hard work and long hours to become familiarized with this massive body of literature in multiple languages to give such credibility and place of honor to these other individuals.

Please see, for example, FTL’s work here:

http://www.freethoughtnation.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=26987

Simply questioning whether Jesus existed or is mythical figure does not make one an “expert in mythicism.” That sort of false association is akin to saying that someone with an interest in brain surgery is a brain surgeon.

The Star of Bethlehem, Three Kings, Sirius and Orion

At this time of year, interest begins to increase in the motif of the “Star of Bethlehem” and “Three Kings” who supposedly followed it to the birth place of the baby Jewish messiah. The depiction of the “kings,” “wise men” or magi as three comes not from the Bible specifically but represents a tradition based on the number of the gifts in the gospel story: To wit, gold, frankincense and myrrh, totaling three. Thus, we have the song “We Three Kings,” which purports to reflect a historical event of magi/wise men visiting the historical messiah Jesus Christ in his manger at the inn. (Mt 2)

A significant amount of literature has been written about the subject of the Star of Bethlehem and Three Kings, much of it from the perspective of the gospel story as history, attempting to place the star at a specific time and place in the sky. Most of these efforts suffer from a lack of knowledge about ancient mythology, including the latest such tomes that purport to be the “end-all” discussion of the subject.

In my book Christ in Egypt, I include an entire chapter on the subject of “The Star in the East and Three Kings,” an excerpt of which can be found at the attached link. To summarize: Egyptian mythology appears to be the source of this mythical, not historical, motif found also in the New Testament gospel story, with the Star in the East signifying the star Sirius and the Three Wise Men the stars in the belt of Orion. Again, while these “wise men” are not specifically “kings,” the tradition associated them with the three stars in the belt of the Orion constellation, which came to be called the “Three Kings” in Christian astronomy.

The information provided in my book and online excerpt should suffice to demonstrate that the Egyptians did indeed consider the three stars in the belt of Orion to lead to the bright star Sirius, which in turn both pointed to the place of the sun at the horizon at various times of the year and heralded the flooding of the Nile, which the Egyptians considered to be the savior. Hence, the star pointed to the place where the savior would be born, led there by the three kings.

While many books ignore the Sirius-Orion mythology, professional astronomer Dr. Edwin C. Krupp, director of the famed Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, discussed both stellar subjects extensively, demonstrating the theme of the three stars pointing to the bright star, indicating the “birth of the savior” at the horizon, both a solar motif and the annual flooding of the Nile.

The image on the right is a photograph from Krupp’s book Beyond the Blue Horizon: Myths & Legends of the Sun, Moon, Stars and Planets (206) shows the three stars in Orion’s belt, pointing to the rising of Sirius on the horizon. The caption by Krupp reads:

“After the big Dipper, Orion the Hunter is probably the most recognized pattern of stars. The three stars of its belt point upward from the center of the photograph. Close to the dawn glow on the eastern horizon, Sirius, the brightest star in the sky, has just risen.”

As we can see, the stars are lined up fairly straight and strikingly indicate the brightest star, highly noticeable, especially to the ancient stargazers. Again, in Egyptian mythology, Sirius or Sothis – Isis – was viewed as the herald of the coming messiah, Osiris, the Nile’s water flooding its banks and bringing with it the renewal of the harvest along its banks. Without this annual flood, which took place in late June, around the solstice, the Egyptians could expect crop failure and famine. Hence, one can fathom why this event was so important and why it was considered a time of salvation. The star in the east was noticed also to herald the rising sun at the horizon, another extremely important messianic figure who was likewise represented by Osiris, as his son Horus, born again in the dawn.

The association with Orion with the dawn is also important and can be found in ancient mythology as well, leading to the notion of the three stars pointing to the place where the solar savior would be “born” in the morning. In this regard, Krupp (27-28) states:

“Stars like Sirius, the sky’s brightest star, also died when they disappeared in the daytime sky, but they were reborn when they reappeared again in the twilight before sunrise….

For the Egyptians, cosmic order was also visible in the return of the goddess Isis as the star Sirius to the predawn sky. At about the same time of year, the Nile, no longer bound to its banks, flooded and refertilized the land. Every year Sirius put in an appearance in the right place at the right time, and the Nile made life possible in Egypt for another year.”

 

Killing Jesus the Zealot

Hi there –

You’ve probably heard about the spate of “historical Jesus” books lately, including one by FOX news anchor Bill O’Reilly, a devout Catholic. As one might imagine, his book is biased, as are those by others released within the past year or two. All seek to “prove” that there was a historical Jesus and that he was, unsurprisingly, what the author valued most in a divine personage. In other words, to O’Reilly, Jesus is the perfect Catholic exemplar, while the devout Muslim Reza Aslan’s Jesus is straight out of the Koran and Islamic tradition.

Please feel free to forget about these shallow and biased efforts that ignore critical scholarship and the subjects of comparative religion and mythology. Below is the book that should be a no. 1 bestseller in a world that values science and truth. Note that my research is drawn from an almost all-Christian bibliography and represents the state-of-the-art scholarship on the subject, as found in seminaries and theological universities and colleges. In reality, my book is the antidote to the disingenuous and deleterious claptrap in these other tomes.

—–

Amazon review of Who Was Jesus? Fingerprints of The Christ by D.M. Murdock

5.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent, October 2, 2013
By John Holland

If you’re looking for a book that will lift the veil of secrecy with Christianity then you’ve found the right book. It’s in-depth, organized, sourced, and courtroom convincing. I recommend it to everyone that wants to know the history of the historical Jesus from a secular point of view.

http://www.amazon.com/review/R87V7PHKXNEY8/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=0979963109&linkCode=&nodeID=&tag=

—–

For more information about Who Was Jesus?, see:

http://www.stellarhousepublishing.com/whowasjesus1.html

Enjoy!

Acharya S/D.M. Murdock
Author, “The Christ Conspiracy,” “Suns of God,” “Who Was Jesus?,” “Christ in Egypt,” “The Gospel According to Acharya S” and “The Astrotheology Calendar” series
http://TruthBeKnown.com
http://StellarHousePublishing.com
http://TBKNews.blogspot.com
http://FreethoughtNation.com
http://www.examiner.com/x-17009-Freethought-Examiner

P.S.  Did you get “A Pre-Christian ‘God’ on a Cross?” yet? Check it out!

http://stellarhousepublishing.com/prechristiancrucifix.html

Western Religious Pluralism?

(The following is a contribution by Freethought Nation guestwriter Brian Schmied.)

After witnessing the holocaust, Western governments slowly began to hang up their age old religious hatreds in favor of peace, advocating instead for secular government. People, however, did not hang up their religious biases. Governments are unfortunately made up of people, including people who declared in April 2013 that the state religion of North Carolina is Christianity.

You see, in the Western world, religious tolerance has always meant tolerance between Protestant Christians and Catholic Christians. Now that atheists, pagans, Scientologists and Muslims want to exercise their own moral codes without first bowing to Christian religious law, they are being met with titanic resistance.

In an attempt to exercise famed American religious pluralism, students in Colorado said the pledge of allegiance in Arabic, which obviously substitutes the word Allah for God. Suddenly all the Christian parents who couldn’t begin to see the problem with making Muslims or Atheists pledge allegiance to a nation under God, exploded into frothing outrage. Welcome to religious pluralism.

Rather than making laws protecting individual choice and consent, Christian governments insist on imposing their religious laws. Gay marriage and polygamy are both extremely pertinent examples of this. Technically, both should be governed by laws that stress individual liberty and consent. Both bans have no rational basis outside of religious law. On this subject, Rand Paul, Rick Santorum, and right wing politicians generally demonstrate very strong concern about the striking down of the Defense of Marriage Act.

Rick Santorum went so far as to blame the downfall of America on the deterioration of the moral convictions of his religion in mainstream culture. This is because his powerful political faction wants the government to enforce religious law. Granted, without the punishments outlined within their holy book, but they are not shy at all about stating their contempt for secular law.

Somehow, the same people are warning about the encroachment of Islam and warning us of the coming takeover which will result in the imposition of Sharia Law. We are already living under it! We just call it our “Judeo-Christian tradition” instead.

Last week, the British government asked the Church of England to take over thousands of state schools. Imagine the reaction if thousands of British state schools were handed over to mosques to be converted into madrasas or to Scientologist sponsors of local politicians. On what planet does compulsory attendance in a state funded religious school add up to religious liberty?

Meanwhile, Swiss officials are having a panic attack because one of their instructional materials in their history curriculum was produced by Scientologists; that in a school system which funds religious indoctrination by both protestant and catholic clergy with mandatory attendance in their state schools.

Scientology’s move into schools is part of their giant PR campaign under David Miscavige, their Global Humanitarian Initiatives, which includes an “Applied Scholastics” section. Swiss government, which embraces compulsory religious education as a necessary part of building a moral society, is freaking out over an institution that is trying to gain public acceptance by doing exactly that. Welcome to Western religious pluralism.

If institutions with unsubstantiated and dangerous beliefs are not allowed influence in education, then it is time for European schools to remove Islam and Christianity as well.

Brian Schmied enjoys learning about religion and politics and the horrible ways in which they interact. As an atheist he  thinks that he is more or less neutral in these conflicts, and therefore likes to spread his view of things to the public in the hope of giving everyone a broader perspective.

Giants in the Bible

Ugh. Someone put me on a “Creationism” group, so I started getting all this nonsensical dreck in my feed, like FAKE images of “giants” that “prove” the Bible to be true. First of all, any “giants” in antiquity would be little different than the tallest tribes or individuals of today. So, the Watusi tribe of Africa would be considered “giants,” and, yes, they do exist. The world’s tallest man was Robert Wadlow, who attained the height of 8’11” – that’s almost NINE FEET. So, yes, he did exist, and he was assuredly a GIANT. His skeleton, if buried, lost and then uncovered, would give the impression of a giant, possibly one of many. That being said, the images of enormous skeletons being passed around are BOGUS.

Secondly, although some of the taller tribes in the Levant have been lighted upon in order to bring realism to the text, the biblical “giants” or nephilim tale represents not “history” but an astral or astrotheological motif. In Aramaic, the word “nephila” refers to the constellation of Orion, the giant hunter in the sky who plays an important role in Egyptian religion, among many others. Gesenius’s Lexicon cites the “Chaldean” (Akkadian) of this term as נפלא nephla, meaning “the giant in the sky, i.e. the constellation Orion, plur. the greater constellations.” In this same regard, in the Bible (Psalm 19:5), the sun is called “giant,” using another Semitic term employed also for Orion, גבור gibbowr (H1368). Orion is called “the giant” also in Arabic, as “al-jabbar.”

Robert Wadlow at 8’11” – definitely a real giant. Nothing mysterious or magical about him. He was not the product of gods or aliens mating with humans. That’s his dear old dad next to him – doesn’t look like God the Father or Lucifer to me.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/5/5c/Robert_Wadlow.jpg/350px-Robert_Wadlow.jpg

What do Muslims pray for five times a day?

What do Muslims pray for five times a day? Some of the praying sounds “reasonable,” unless you are an atheist, but for the most part, Muslims are petitioning the Arab tribal god Allah not to make infidels of them. In other words, every day Muslims are engaged in infidelophobic behaviors, designed to be divisive and to inculcate hatred for non-Muslims.

The main Muslim daily prayers constantly reinforce this impression of believer versus infidel, so even “moderates” who pray every day are being imbued with this divisiveness.

For example, here is one of the five prayers per day:

“All praise is due to Allah, the Sovereign Lord of all the universes. The Most Affectionate, the Most Merciful. The Owner of the Day of Retribution. O’ Allah! You alone do we worship and You alone do we beseech for help. Guide us to the straight path. The path of those whom You have Favoured. Not of those who earned Your wrath and nor of those who went astray.”

Those who are going astray, of course, are non-Muslims. Those who pray to the tribal god Allah as prescribed within Islam are on the “straight path” and those who do not abide by Islam are deserving of Allah’s wrath.

In this next prayer, Muslims are inculcated daily with disdain for Christianity and, by extension, Christians:

“Say, He is Allah, the One. Allah is All Independent. Neither He begot anyone nor He was begotten. And none is equal to Him in any way.”

The “begotten,” of course, refers to Jesus as the Son of God and God Himself.

And again, in this next prayer, only Allah, Mohammed and Muslims are virtuous:

“O’ Allah! You alone deserve all veneration, worship and glory. O’Prophet! Peace be on you and the mercy of Allah and His blessings. Peace be upon us and on virtuous servants of Allah. I bear witness that none is worthy of worship save Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is His chosen servant and His Messenger.”

And for the infidelophobic coup de grace, Muslims are required to recite the following, daily:

“O’ Allah! You alone do we worship and for You do we pray and prostrate and we betake to please You and present ourselves for the service in Your cause and we hope for Your mercy and fear Your chastisement. Undoubtedly, Your torment is going to overtake infidels.”

All of this constant enforcement of disdain for anything non-Muslim, every day, day in and day out, most assuredly has the effect of creating division and hatred. Muslims are also encouraged to spread their religion, by force if necessary. Hence, we find “Muslim patrols” of infidelophobic thugs in the streets doing just that.

http://bznotes.wordpress.com/2006/10/02/what-do-muslims-say-in-their-prayers-5-times-a-day/

So, we’re not allowed to have topless women (FEMEN) in public, but we are subjected against our wills to the asses of men exposed en masse.

Even the prayer posture reeks of primitivity. Are you aware of what Muslims are praying for every day? They pray not to be infidels. In other words, their “prayers” are basically divisive hate speech against nonbelievers.

Surprised? And how, exactly, can one be a “moderate” yet devout Muslim, if to be the latter one must be an infidelophobic, bigoted extremist?

The ‘New Age religion’

(The following essay is satire concerning the encouragement of greed and unrestrained development. It should not be construed as anti-Americanism.)

At the end of the Second World War, all the politicians or their representatives met in Geneva, Switzerland, and allegedly discussed a very important aspect to achieve the world peace. The proceedings were not recorded on any document for the fear that anything recorded on a document would be leaked to some snooping journo and splashed on the front page of a newspaper, to be picked up later by the syndicates. Everyone in the meeting was sworn to secrecy. As it happens, all the participants in that meeting have already died. This secret meeting was revealed to me by one of the Indian diplomats present, when he was close to his death. As India was under British rule at that time of the meeting, he was serving in the British civil service, which was how he came to know of it, having served as the secretary of the top “cat” who attended the gathering.

In that meeting, these powermongers devised a new religion. It was all done in a hush-hush manner, surreptitiously. It was led by the USA. The then-Secretary of State was vested with the responsibility of spreading this new religion. He devised a plan, which was popularly referred to as the “Marshall Plan.” It was a smashing success!

The Marshall Plan was then extended to Asia through Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Philippines. For some years, Russia fiercely resisted it and prevented its spread. But ultimately, “God” created a loyal devotee in that country too, and the resistance was whittled down with the assistance from “Him.” The Islamic countries offered resistance but now it is reduced to just two countries, Iran and Afghanistan. The rest of the world has fallen in line.

That’s how the Pax Americana lasted 67 years, the longest in known history! It is still going strong!

The ‘Religion’ of Economic Development

Now, I will not keep you in suspense any longer. The name of the “religion” is “Economic Development.” It has a trinity of “gods,” namely, money, beauty and power. One nice thing about this “religion” is that the trinity work complementing each other. They do not work in water-tight compartments. If you pleased one god, he will assist you in acquiring the other two.

Another nicer aspect of this religion is that there is no book to follow or swear by. You are free to act in any way you like. There are no guilt-causing rules like, “do not lie,” “do not steal” and so on. There are not even Ten Commandments or even five commandments. There is only one command: Acquire the trinity of the gods, and keep them safe with you.

The Bottom Line Above All

All methods and means are very fair and acceptable in your quest to acquire the “gods” of the new “religion”: Telling lies, stealing, murder, cheating, or you name it, it is permissible. Become the CEO of a large corporation or bank, draw large salary and bonus, but run the company into ground making paupers of the stockholders – it is all right. You are not punished. You will not be consigned to hell. You will be in heaven while on earth itself, enjoying the money you have earned by using your powerful intellect. You opened a bank or a savings and loan company or a mutual fund and used the pious Ponzi scheme, no issue, You are on the right path.

You rig the elections, by bribing the voters, or rigging the voting machines or stalling the due process by using the courts of law, perfect! You are a devotee dear to the trinity. Then rule the proletariat making them sweat and steal their hard earned money through unreasonably high taxes and stash it at a place that is not accessible to general public, well, you are a high priest of the religion.

If you have money, you can buy votes and acquire power; you can use power to blackmail the business people and acquire money; and you can hire a plastic surgeon and reconstruct your body so that it would be beautiful or you can use any number of beauty aids that are advertised day in and day out on the billboards, television, newspapers, magazines and inside movie theaters.

If you have beauty, use it well, become a super model, a movie actor and if possible sleep your way to money. Both males and females are eligible for this and have proved that it is possible.

If you have power, use it to blackmail the business people and acquire money; use it lobby in the corridors of power for payment to foreign countries or businesses; or simply steal from the treasury by over-invoicing for public works including healthcare provision to old and the infants. You see, nothing is prohibited.

Who propagate this religion? This gospel is spread by the evangelists of the religion and they are called as “Marketers” or “Advertisers”. In this spread, the high and mighty of the religion, namely, the politicians, movie actors, super models, studio owners, TV channels, anchors, and role models of the society. They market anything and everything under the sun with only one caveat – it should not immediately be proven that the marketed product is bad in any manner. A drug that works in the case of just twenty percent is also OK to be marketed as long as you print an unreadable warning on the packet. Why, you can sell even water by ensuring that the tapped water or from any water source (rivers, wells, ponds, and lakes) is contaminated!

There is no limit to the amount of the trinity you can acquire. If it happens that your house is filled and overflowing, the trinity has arranged for safe havens so that you can stash your money, which can grant the other two to you any time, there.

You know, one good thing about this new religion, you can pass on physically, your hard-earned trinity to your offspring even while you are alive. You need not fear that there is uncertainty in passing on your goodwill to your descendants.

Now how is its adaptation in the world?

As I stated earlier, except for those two countries all other countries have adapted this religion in their countries and actively propagating it. Serious efforts are in place to convert Afghanistan. Only Iran is offering the stiffest resistance as of now. But the heartening thing is that Iran is propagating a slightly modified version of the new religion in their country, Over all about 70% of all religious denominations or statistically, 1-sigma level has whole heartedly converted t this new religion. Another 29% or to about 3-sigma level are inside the orbit and would fully convert in the next decade, if everything goes as planned. Perhaps, 1% of the world population may still hold out. Well, when we say 100%, statisticians know, that is never 100%.

Once nice aspect of this religion, is that you need not shed your current religion to embrace this religion. You may still go to the Church / Synagogue / Mosque / Temple if the tenets of those religions still trouble you. This religion does not place any restrictions in that matter.

Now, check yourself are you a member of this new religion, called Economic Development? Well, I think that I am half there.

Satirical Parody

Well, by now, perhaps, you already made out that this is a satire or a parody. If you have  not, I am explicitly stating that this is just a satire hoping to get a smile out of you. The intent is not offend any religion or a sect or any people. If any such tendencies are found in this article, please be big hearted and pardon me aberration.

Thank you all very much – Murali Chemuturi

Did Jesus have a wife? So says an ancient Egyptian papyrus

A Egyptian papyrus fragment describing Jesus Christ as discussing his “wife” has been making the news globally of late. The idea of Jesus having a wife is many centuries old, having been circulated beginning in the late second or early third century and popularized in modern times by Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. In 1999, I wrote in The Christ Conspiracy (13):

Jesus has “of late become a black, a white supremacist, a gay, a woman, a heretic, a Mediterranean peasant…a ‘Cynic-sage,’ an Arab, as well as the husband of Mary Magdalene and father of many children.”

Although there remains skepticism as to its authenticity, this papyrus fragment may date to the 4th century and reflects a typical Gnostic dialogue of the latter half of the second century AD/CE. The fragment obviously does not provide earth-shattering proof of Jesus’s existence as a historical figure. The Greek god Zeus is widely known to have had a wife as well, as have gods too numerous for me to list here.

A Faded Piece of Papyrus Refers to Jesus’ Wife

A historian [Dr. Karen King] of early Christianity at Harvard Divinity School has identified a scrap of papyrus that she says was written in Coptic in the fourth century and contains a phrase never seen in any piece of Scripture: “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife …'”

The faded papyrus fragment is smaller than a business card, with eight lines on one side, in black ink legible under a magnifying glass. Just below the line about Jesus having a wife, the papyrus includes a second provocative clause that purportedly says, “she will be able to be my disciple…”

The provenance of the papyrus fragment is a mystery, and its owner has asked to remain anonymous. Until Tuesday, Dr. King had shown the fragment to only a small circle of experts in papyrology and Coptic linguistics, who concluded that it is most likely not a forgery.

Even with many questions unsettled, the discovery could reignite the debate over whether Jesus was married, whether Mary Magdalene was his wife and whether he had a female disciple. These debates date to the early centuries of Christianity, scholars say. But they are relevant today, when global Christianity is roiling over the place of women in ministry and the boundaries of marriage.

The discussion is particularly animated in the Roman Catholic Church, where despite calls for change, the Vatican has reiterated the teaching that the priesthood cannot be opened to women and married men because of the model set by Jesus…

[King] repeatedly cautioned that this fragment should not be taken as proof that Jesus, the historical person, was actually married. The text was probably written centuries after Jesus lived, and all other early, historically reliable Christian literature is silent on the question, she said.

But the discovery is exciting, Dr. King said, because it is the first known statement from antiquity that refers to Jesus speaking of a wife. It provides further evidence that there was an active discussion among early Christians about whether Jesus was celibate or married, and which path his followers should choose.

“This fragment suggests that some early Christians had a tradition that Jesus was married,” she said. “There was, we already know, a controversy in the second century over whether Jesus was married, caught up with a debate about whether Christians should marry and have sex.”

…Dr. King was struck by phrases in the fragment like “My mother gave to me life,” and “Mary is worthy of it,” which resemble snippets from the Gospels of Thomas and Mary. Experts believe those were written in the late second century and translated into Coptic. She surmises that this fragment is also copied from a second-century Greek text.

The meaning of the words, “my wife,” is beyond question, Dr. King said. “These words can mean nothing else.” The text beyond “my wife” is cut off.

Dr. King did not have the ink dated using carbon testing. She said it would require scraping off too much, destroying the relic. She still plans to have the ink tested by spectroscopy, which could roughly determine its age by its chemical composition…

Dr. King said she would push the owner to come forward, in part to avoid stoking conspiracy theories.

The notion that Jesus had a wife was the central conceit of the best seller and movie “The Da Vinci Code.” But Dr. King said she wants nothing to do with the code or its author: “At least, don’t say this proves Dan Brown was right.”

The papyrus fragment’s legible text of “33 words, scattered across 14 incomplete lines” is translated as follows:

  1. “not [to] me. My mother gave to me li[fe]”
  2. “The disciples said to Jesus”
  3. “deny. Mary is worthy of it”
  4. “Jesus said to them, My wife”
  5. “she will be able to be my disciple”
  6. “Let wicked people swell up”
  7. “As for me, I dwell with her in order to”
  8. “an image”

According to the Smithsonian article about this fragment, King’s analysis is that “wife” to whom Jesus refers “is probably Mary Magdalene, and Jesus appears to be defending her against someone, perhaps one of the male disciples”:

“She will be able to be my disciple,” Jesus replies. Then, two lines later, he says: “I dwell with her.”

The Smithsonian writer cautions that this text is of no more historical value than The Da Vinci Code, thus emphasizing the fact that scores of people in antiquity were composing fictions about Jesus. This article also highlights Karen King’s Christianity:

Was she still a practicing Christian? Her faith, she said, had sustained her through a life-threatening, three-year bout with cancer that went into full remission in 2008, after radiation and seven surgeries. She told me that she attends services, irregularly, at an Episcopal Church down the block from her home, in Arlington, a town northwest of Cambridge. “Religion is absolutely central to who I am in every way,” she said.

This fact of devotion on the part of this papyrus expert from Harvard Divinity School – a Christian institution – should be kept in mind when reading the following analysis, which may have been more apparent to someone not vested in the literal interpretation of the gospel story.

The multiple Marys

In her paper on the subject, Karen King refers to the multiple Marys of Christian tradition, noting that they have been confusedly dealt with, often with the result that they are depicted interchangeably. For example, Mary the Mother has been equated with Mary Magdalene. As King points out in her analysis of the “Mary” in this papyrus fragment:

The second issue is to identify Mary: Is she Jesus’s mother…or his wife…? Scholars have long noted “the confusion of Marys” in early Christianity, due not least to the ubiquity of this name (Maria, Mariam, Mariamme) for Jewish women in the priod. One of the most influential confusions has been the identification of Mary of Magdala with three other figures: Mary of Bethany (John 11:1-2; 12:1-3), the woman caught in adultery (John 8:3-11), and the sinner woman (Luke 7:37-38), resulting in the erroneous portrait of Mary Magdalene as a repentant prostitute.  Another is the confusion of Jesus’s mother with Mary of Magdala, and even the substitution of the mother for her, for example as the first witness to the resurrected Jesus in John 20:11-17.

The mark of the Triple GoddessWe would submit that the reason these Marys are treated indistinctly is because they represent not distinct “historical” figures but mythical manifestations of the “Triple Goddess.”

Speaking of the Gnostic Gospel of Phillip, a text evidently from the latter half of the second century, in which Jesus is depicted as often kissing Mary Magdalene, King notes:

Magdalene is represented as the image of the heavenly syzygy between the Savior and Sophia, a pairing that replays the syzygy of Christ and the Holy Spirit.

The Greek word syzygy means “yoking together” and represents in Gnostic literature a pair of energies or beings, here the mystical or allegorical couple of Jesus and the Gnostic goddess Sophia or “Wisdom,” the anthropomorphization of not only wisdom but also the “female spiritual power.”

Matter and Mater

These various Gnostic discourses such as the Gospels of Thomas, Mary and Phillip in significant part represent the “values” being promulgated at the time of their composition. Here we see a clear attempt at male domination in the subordination of the goddess figure. She is no longer the great goddess whose consort is a mere sidekick. Instead, she is a wife and a disciple of a greater power. This usurpation represents a prime Gnostic tenet of distaste for “matter” or mater – “mother” – in Latin. Matter, material and mother are considered in this belief system to be made of the same substance, to be earthly and therefore unspiritual. Here is simply more of the same mythological and religious push to bring down the goddess and replace her with a pliable underling.

The Archons and Female Spiritual Power

In the Gnostic text the Hypostasis of the Archons, we read about the archons or false rulers in charge of the “fallen world.” One of these arrogant, blind and lost rulers proclaims, “I am God; there is none apart from me.” He is answered by a female voice emanating from the “incorruptible world,” who says, “You are mistaken, Samael,” this latter moniker meaning “God of the blind.” Here, Ruether (115) remarks, that this myth “suggests that the Jewish creator God traditionally proclaimed by this statement is a fallen demonic power.” His mother, however, from the “higher celestial world that transcends him” unveils his “false nature.”

Here the female principle, Pistis Sophia or “Faith Wisdom,” is the real creator, bringing to the “waters below” the world above. Her jealous opposers, the archons, are unable essentially to work in matter or the material world, the realm of the mater or mother. The archons attempt to draw Wisdom down into the material world by manifesting her in the man, Adam, a soulless brute who only becomes a human being with the entrance of (Sophia’s) Spirit. The Gnostic figure of Sophia, the anthropomorphized “Wisdom” who can also be found in the Old Testament as Hokmah, is called the “Wife of the Male.”

The Gnostic Adam and Eve

Next comes the story of Adam in the Garden, with a Gnostic twist that depriving him of eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil is in itself perceived as an evil act of trickery by the archons, not the result of a wise and good God. Thus, the archons lull Adam into a “sleep of ignorance,” during which time they remove from his side the “spiritual power,” which they place into a female. Seeing her, he recognizes that she is “his true source of life.” He then calls her “Mother of the Living.” Here we see again the Gnostic turning on its head of biblical tales and doctrines, as the female in this story is no mere “rib” but the very power of spirit itself.

This “spiritual woman” is jealously pursued by the archons, who try to rape her, but they cannot approach her true essence and can only defile “a shadow reflection of herself (Eve, or carnal woman). Enter the snake, as the manifestation of the female spiritual power, “the instructor,” who teaches Adam and Eve the truth about eating the fruit of the Tree and being awakened to see, such that they will be as gods. At this point, the couple realizes its carnal aspect and desires the spiritual power, which is denied to them by the archons, who expel them from the Garden.

After producing Cain, Abel and Seth, Eve bears a daughter, Norea, who symbolizes the female spiritual power her mother lost.

In the Hypostasis, we read about the “Great Angel, Eleleth,” who leaves the “higher celestial world” in order to help the Gnostic figure of Norea the “virgin whom the Forces did not defile.” Norea is being pursued by the “rulers” or archons, who wish to rape her, “as they had done to her mother, Eve.” Norea “calls out to the true God of the celestial world to save her.” According to the angel, Norea the “virgin spirit” dwells in the “Incorruptibility” and cannot be defiled. In Goddesses and the Divine Feminine (University of California Press, 2005:117), Dr. Rosemary Ruether writes:

The angel then outlines for Norea the prehistory of the cosmos: how Pistis Sophia, dwelling in the incorrutible realm, desired to create something without her consort. Out of that desire, the veil between the world above and the realm below was breached. A shadow came into being beneath the veil, and this became matter. The aborted being produced by Sophia’s desire then proceeded to organize this matter and to rule over it, proclaiming himself the only God. But it was Sophia above who introduced light into matter, while Zoe (Life), the daughter of Pistis Sophia, was the voice that revealed to the ignorant God Sakla (Yaltabaoth) his mistake.

In the story, Sophia is desirous of creating without her consort, as a parthenogenetrix, or “virgin mother,” a religious idea dating from thousands of years before the common era.  In this story, Sabaoth, son of Yaltabaoth, a jealous god – clearly the biblical god Yahweh – repents of his father’s mistake and praises Sophia and Zoe.” It should be further noted that the Greek god Dionysus was known as a major representative of zoe or “life” in pre-Christian and pre-Gnostic times. Sabaoth is equated with the “Lord of the hosts” at Isaiah 9:12, “hosts” referring to angels and warriors as well as the sun, moon and stars. He is thus both the Father and the Father in the Son, Jesus. (Francis Fallon, The Enthronement of Sabaoth, Brill, 1978:131.) As his reward for acknowledging these two Gnostic figures, Sabaoth-Jesus is made “ruler over the universe.”

Sophia is also part of the discussion of “dwelling,” as she resides in the pleroma, the “incorruptible realm” where the Gnostic gospel story takes place. It is not a literal story, and this fragment would as evidence that we are discussing mythmaking here, not historical facts. The “Jesus Christ” of the Gnostic (and canonical) texts is a composite of characters, some real and mythical, compiled as the supposed historical speaker of numerous sayings of pre-Christian and proto-Gnostic cultures. This type of literature is similar to that of the Hermes Trismegistus tradition, in which multiple writers composed pseudonymously both texts and sayings, attributing them to the Greco-Egyptian god Hermes “Thrice Blessed.”

In Valentian Gnosticism, which predates the clear emergence of the canonical gospels as we have them and which was addressed by early Church fathers such as Irenaeus, who was responsible for choosing the four gospels for the canon, Sophia is the female aspect of the “divine pair” or “syzygy” (“yoking together”) that included Jesus. In other words, she is his wife.

In the Hypostasis, after all this female promotion, we are told that Norea is but a product of the Primordial Father. If you are confused, you would not be alone. Gnosticism is confusing for the very reason that it attempted to fuse together numerous religious and mythological traditions of the Roman Empire and beyond, into eastern lands such as Syria, Persia, Arabia and India. Therefore, we find multiple and often contradictory forces at work here, but the main thrust is that, while the female spiritual power possesses greatness, responsible for the creation of matter as well, the son of the jealous demiurge, equivalent to the biblical Yahweh, is made “ruler over the universe.” This sort of subordination of the female spiritual power is similar to the tale we see here with the female appearing as Jesus wife and disciple.

In the article, we read:

“She repeatedly cautioned that this fragment should not be taken as proof that Jesus, the historical person, was actually married. The text was probably written centuries after Jesus lived, and all other early, historically reliable Christian literature is silent on the question, she said.”

Nor should this fragment be taken as proof that Jesus WAS a historical person. So long as these artifacts are interpreted through the false lens of historicity, they will never make sense.

It is to be admitted that the Gnostic stories concerning Jesus, residing in the mythical pleroma and interacting with Sophia, Ialdabaoth, the Aeons and Archons, are allegorical, mythical and fictional, not literal history. Significant Gnostic literature actually appears earlier in the historical record than do the canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John as we have them. Indeed, these historicizing and literalizing texts emerge clearly in the historical record at the end of the second century, seemingly as a response to the allegorical Gnostic texts.

The Gnostic tale of Adam and Eve, which sets the biblical version on its head, is very Buddhistic in several of its important elements. A major quest in Buddhism is for enlightenment, i.e., the “Knowledge of Good and Evil,” which is the Gnostic goal for Adam and Eve. The snake is wisdom itself, procured through self-introspection. Another interesting correlation is the “rib” story of drawing the female spiritual power from the side of Adam to imbue a soul in Eve. This story sounds like the yogic myth of Shakti, as well as that of Buddha, in which he is born through the side of his virgin mother, per St. Jerome’s account.

As concerns the debate within the Catholic Church of whether or not women should be ordained, perhaps the sovereign remedy is for women simply to break away from the church and start their own ministries based on women’s religious and mythological traditions dating back hundreds and thousands of years before the common era.

All in all, this brief fragment gives the impression of being part of a Valentinian Gnostic text, part of the mass of allegorical, mythical and fictional tales about Jesus that accumulated before there is a clearcut canon establishing history and literalization of the gospel story.

Further Reading

“Jesus said to them, ‘My wife…'”: A New Coptic Gospel Papyrus by Karen L. King

The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife: A New Coptic Gospel Papyrus

Who was Mary Magdalene?

Who is the Virgin Mary?

The Inside Story of a Controversial New Text About Jesus

The Gospel according to Mary Magdalene

Pistis Sophia

Religion and the PhD: A Brief History

Harvard claim of Jesus’ Wife papyrus scrutinized

Aeon (Gnosticism)

Reality check on Jesus and his ‘wife’

Was there a historical ‘Jesus of Nazareth?’

Hi there!

Just a reminder of my ebook/PDF special, in case you haven’t gotten a copy yet. If you have, thanks! I hope you are enjoying it. If not, don’t forget that I’ve included in this collection of nine (9) of my PDFs a brand-new article entitled:

Was There a Historical ‘Jesus of Nazareth?”
The Use of Midrash to Create a Biographical Detail in the Gospel Story

Here’s a summary:

In the New Testament, Jesus Christ is depicted as having been brought up in a city called “Nazareth,” a purported biographical detail upon which much speculation has been hung over the centuries as to a “historical” Jewish messiah figure in the gospel story, buried somewhere underneath layers of pious elaboration.  In this regard, countless Jesus biographies have been constructed significantly around this purported place of origin that would indicate a historical personage.  Indeed, whenever scholars wish to distinguish between the “historical Jesus” and the “Christ of faith,” they use this designation “Jesus of Nazareth” to depict the former.

Despite all of this speculation, there exists no hard scientific evidence that the polis or “city” of Nazareth as depicted in the New Testament even existed at the time when Christ was supposedly being raised there. Although there exists a centuries-later “historic Nazareth” in Israel, archaeological explorations during the past century have failed to demonstrate any such city of the time in the general vicinity. In reality, it appears that Jesus was made to be “of Nazareth” so that he could be called a “Nazarene” or “Nazoraean/Nazorean,” a member of an ancient pre-Christian sect, of which the Old Testament hero Samson was said to have been an adherent as well.

http://stellarhousepublishing.com/acharyapdfs.html

You can get my new article at the link above, as part of the special collection! Included is scholarly analysis of the biblical Greek of both the Old and New Testaments. However, I believe I’ve succeeded in making the information available even to novices.

Don’t forget the other ebooks included in this special collection, which will only be available for a limited time:

The Origins of Christianity and the Quest for the Historical Jesus Christ
Jesus as the Sun throughout History
Who Was Jesus? (39-page ebook excerpt)
Was Mithra Born of a Virgin?
The Acharya Articles Collection:
“The Pagan Origins of the Christian Mysteries
“Jesus Christ, Mason of God”
“Moon Mary, Queen of Heaven”
The Zeitgeist Sourcebook
Acharya’s Religion 101 for Seekers

http://stellarhousepublishing.com/acharyapdfs.html

I hope you enjoy my writings!

P.S.

End Times: True or False?

We’ve all heard about the ‘End Times,’ as described in the last book of the New Testament, Revelation. We survived Y2K, Harold Camping’s May 21st Judgement Day and his October 21st End of the World but, with Dec 21st 2012 quickly approaching, we’re not out of the woods just yet. I hope you’ve been watching Nat Geo’s “Doomsday Preppers.”

http://www.freethoughtnation.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=4015

How accurate are these claims of “prophecy” and are they really necessary? I mean, geesh, there’s a lot of destruction going on there; couldn’t God,  just show up on the evening news and act as a guide so we could avoid all the destruction and killing?

The Religious Tolerance website says: “Christ … returns on a horse leading an army on horseback who will exterminate one third of the earth’s population in a massive, bloody genocide. It will be numerically the largest mass extermination of humans in history.”

http://www.religioustolerance.org/rapture1.htm

Revelation 9:13-15 the mass murder of 1/3rd of the worlds population (which will consist of all non-believers; sounds like a modern day Inquisition and dark age to me). Remember the apocalypse, Armageddon and the tribulation period? Remember how it says that the blood will be at the horses bridle at Revelation 14:20? And that man will become more scarce than gold at Isaiah 13:12? After all is said and done 2/3rds of the human population will be destroyed.

If that happened today with the worlds population now just over 7 billion, 2/3rds is over 4.5 billion people killed – all non-believers of course! I never hear Christians or Muslims talk specifically about that many deaths but, it’s significant. We must put some light on this issue because Christians and Muslims view the end times as some great thing that will lead to the golden age of a 1,000 years of peace. The subject of such a monumental tragedy of 4.5 billion deaths doesn’t seem to bother them at all. They are comfortable being a devotee of such a god.

Apparently, the end times murder of over 4.5 billion non-believers is just prophecy policy. Or, is it collateral damage? How is that any sort of improvement over the past deaths of around 250 million in the name of Christianity over the last 2,000 years and the 270 million in the name of Islam over the last 1,400 years? It’s not, that’s over half a billion deaths with 4.5 billion more to go according the Abrahamic religions.

How many has God killed?
http://www.freethoughtnation.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=2381

Video of John Hagee here ???
http://freethoughtnation.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=2863

I remember the days when I used to believe it. As a former evangelical, my family and I used to love watching John Hagee back in the 80’s. Now days, I feel dirty like I need to go take a shower after watching these videos. I’d be ashamed to view the murder of 4.5 people as any sort of glorious act. There may be some sort of end times but, it won’t have anything to do with god, Jesus, Muhammad or any other supernatural fairy-tale. There exists no credible evidence to substantiate these supernatural end times claims. But that doesn’t stop the self-fulfilling prophecy created solely by man.

A Brief History of the Apocalypse 
http://www.abhota.info/end1.htm

We can do better and we can start now by learning about the origins of religious concepts. These origins stem from a veneration of natural phenomena i.e. the sun, moon, planets, constellations etc. The ancients (our ancestors) created myths around nature and passed it on to the next generation. This mythology snowballed into organized religion over time. If ancient religions were basing their religious ideas around natural phenomena, then, obviously, there are going to exist parallels between these sacred concepts. These concepts have evolved over time with similarities and differences due to environment, culture and era. Added to that fact are all of the competition and borrowing of ideas between these various cultures.

Religious or not, we should be the best stewards we can on the only planet we have to live on. Wishing for worldwide mass destruction is the complete opposite of that.

Zeitgeist part 1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZgT1SRcrKE

The Mythicist Position
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63BNKhGAVRQ

FAQs

“Islamophobia?”

Inevitably in any discussion of Islam, there are those “infidelphobes” and “dhimwits” who start shrieking about “Islamophobia,” as if that’s a bad thing.  A healthy fear of Islam–knowing its actual history and what it continues to do globally, rather than remaining in a bubble of ignorance–would be a good thing for any sensible person.

“Islam” means “submission,” and “phobia” means “fear.” Any truly free and enlightened individual would possess a certain degree of fear of submission. Even more so, those with real souls would possess a certain hatred for submission, which would make them Islamomises. Anyone who mindlessly coddles this atrocious ideology that has been responsible for the vicious murders and deaths of some 270 million people worldwide, swallowing up whole cultures against their will, like the BORG, could only be called a “dhimwit“:

A non-Muslim member of a free society who unwittingly abets the stated cause of Islamic domination.  A dhimwit is always quick to extend sympathy to the very enemy that would take away his or her own freedom (or life) if given the opportunity.

The people who are “Islamophobic” are those who are afraid to criticize a heinous ideology that brutalizes human beings on a mass scale. Those cowards who will appease the crocodile so it will eat them last.

I have no interest in being an Islamophobe and hiding in the wings, pretending to be more moral than those who stick out their necks to take on an unpopular but egregious injustice and call a spade a spade.

Using the term “Islamophobe” is another deflection off this dangerous situation. It is like calling someone an “anti-Semite” for criticizing Judaism.

Yes, of course, it is becoming increasingly evident that rampant “multiculturalism” does not work.

“If Ms. Murdock finds the tenets of the Koran revolting, can we say anytheless of the Talmud or the Old Testament?”

You mean the Talmud and Old Testament that I have been writing about and criticizing for two decades? That I have exposed as largely being propaganda bent on hegemony?

Fortunately, however, most Jews in the West are far better educated than their Muslim counterparts and certainly do not follow either the Talmud or the Old Testament.

The Koran, on the other hand, is held up by hundreds of millions as “God’s Word.” Ironically, the Koran/Quran is largely based on the Old Testament Jewish law.  In fact, the most devout Muslims follow Jewish law extremely precisely.

In addition to my books, which expose the farce of bibliolatry, the following articles have been online since the mid to late 90s.

[url=http://www.truthbeknown.com/judaismquotes.htm]Quotes from Judaism[/url]
[url=http://www.truthbeknown.com/theocracy.htm]Anatomy of a One World Religion[/url]

I have been very aware of the “lefty liberal” propaganda about Israel, Zionism and Jews since the early 90s, when I began to listen to the Pacifica station KPFK, which is laden with pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel sentiments.  While there is of course merit to this perspective to a certain extent, what we see flowing from these particular airwaves, and all over Europe as well, is indeed [i]propaganda [/i]designed by Arab and Muslim Brotherhood elements who would like us all to appease Islam and accept it as the dominant global system.

It seems that the mad focus on Judaism, Israel, “Zionism” comes from people who have just heard about this “lefty liberal” agenda and cannot see through it.  They are almost two decades behind me in this regard.  I was very much a lefty liberal myself, until I saw what it was turning into.  Appeasing Islam is treacherous, as far I am concerned.  I am disgusted that anyone for one moment would defend this anti-human, woman-hating cult of death. 

Constantly throwing out red herrings and pulling out the “tu quoque” logical fallacy has no effect as concerns the truth and facts. All of these objections come from people with a very shallow perspective of the world and its history.

Jesus the Good and the Chrestians

In his monograph Chrestos: A Religious Epithet; Its Import and Influence, J.B. Mitchell describes the Jewish “agadists” who engaged in midrash or the reworking of ancient ideas and texts, remarking:

By [midrash], remove and fantastic analogies, metaphors taken literally, ambiguities of all sorts, punning included, took the place of accurate ratiocination [_____]…. among Patristic and ecclesiastical writers, whose thoughts were chiefly turned to and guided by Scripture, agadic analogy most frequently took the form of verbal ambiguity.

Between the words [get greek XRISTOS] and [XRHSTOS], when uttered according to the ancient way of pronouncing, there was little if perceptible difference. The former signified “anointed,” the latter “good, excellent, gracious.” It was consequently by the agadic method evidence that he who was anointed (Christ) was good and gracious (Chrest); and that that which the name Christian covered was good, excellent, and in truth really Chrestian. This argument is stated in at least five of the most eminent of the Church Fathers, embracing a period of 250 years at least.

At some point beginning in the second century, apparently, the “Christ” figure began to be called “Jesus the Good,” appropriate for someone who is made to say at John 10:30: “I and the Father are one.” In the OT “Good Lord” Yahweh, one can see where the Chrestos followers derived their epithet for Jesus.

The evidence points to two separate strains of Christianity in this regard, of which one was based on “Jesus the Chrest,” the followers of whom were styled “Chrestians,” the term in the oldest extant manuscript of the Bible, the Codex Sinaiticus (c. 350), used to describe those whom perceive of as “Christians,” as at Acts 11:26, 26:28; and 1 Peter 4:16.

Image

The image above is from the biblical verse Acts 11:26 in the Codex Sinaiticus, showing that the original Greek letter Η or eta was erased and replaced by an Ι or iota. The word usually translated as “Christ” in the New Testament is represented in the Sinaiticus by the abbreviations XC or XPC, which are used to denote “Chrestos” as well. Thus, the Sinaiticus could be all about “Jesus [the] Chrest,” not “Jesus Christ.” Interestingly, however, where the words “antichrist” and “antichrists” appear in the Sinaiticus MS, such as at 1 John 2:18, 2:22, 4:3, the relevant word is clearly christos. This fact is indicative of the separate but related factions using the two epithets at the same time, at least by the time the Sinaiticus was written.

Early Church fathers recorded that they were called “Chrestiani”:

Justin Martyr, who lived at Sichem or Shechem in Samaria, in the Second Century, declares that he and his fellow-recusants were called χρηστιανόι, or Chrestiani, and admits in so many words that the appelation was from the term χρηστός – Chrestos. “From the name imputed to us as a crime,” says he, “we are the χρηστοτατόι – Chrestatoi, the very good.” (Meta. Mag. 14:140)

Says _____:

Theophilus of Antioch (A.D. 168-188) puns upon the name Christian. “I, for my part,” says he, (B.i, ch. 1,) “avow that I am a Christian, and bear this name beloved of God, hoping to be serviceable, (euchrestos.) In ch. 12 this punning is kept up throughout, thus:

“And about your laughing at me calling me ‘Christian,’ you know not what you are saying. First, because that which is anointed is sweet (Chrestos) and serviceable (euchrestos) and far from contemptible…. And what work has either ornament or beauty unless it be anointed or burnished? Then the air and all that is under heaven is in a certain sort anointed by light and spirit, and are you unwilling to be anointed with the oil of God? Wherefore we are called Christians on this account because we are anointed with the oil of God.”

Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 189-202) in like manner says, (Misc., B. ii, ch. 4): “Now those who have believed in Christ both are and are called good, (Chrestoi.)”

Lactantius, an eminent Christian author (A.D. 301-330), says that the Greeks “were accustomed through a mistake of ignorance (?) by the change of a letter, to say Chrestus.” (Div. Inst., B. iv, ch. 7.)

Tertullian, the first of the Latin Fathers (A.D. 193-220), says:

“But Christian, so far as the meaning of the word is concerned, is derived from anointing. Yes, and even when it is wrongly pronounced by you Chrestianus (for you do not even know accurately the name you hate), it comes from sweetness and benignity.” (Apol., Sec. 3. See also Ad. Nat., ch. 3.)…

Justin Martyr, one of if, not the, earliest and best of the authenticated Fathers, calls the Christians *Chrestianoi*. Not that the word is so found in his writings; oh no! The priestly scribes have been careful to change the e to i. In his “First Apology,” ch. 4, this passage occurs:

“So far, at least, as one may judge from the name we are accused of, we are most excellent (crestotatoi) people…. For we are accused of being Christians, and to hate what is excellent (chrestos) is unjust.”

It is further suggested that the name Chrestos was favored by Gnostics.

According to G.H.R. Horsley (New Documents Illustrating Early Christianity, v. 3, 133), in post-Constantinian times the “open profession of faith,” including “references to χρηστιανοι πρεσβύτεροι” or “chrestian presbyters” was not “provocative,” indicating it was common enough.

The Sybilline Oracle

 

Let us also not forget the interesting and famed acrostic purported to be from the Erythrean Sybil, traditionally said to date to at least the century before Christ’s purported advent:

Ιησους Χρειστος, Θεου Υιος, Σωτηρ, Σταυρος

Jesus Chreistos, Son of God, Savior, Cross

This fascinating formula was cited by Church historian Eusebius (Oratio Constatini ad Sanctorum Coetum, 18) as appearing in the works of pre-Christian Latin writer Cicero (citing De divin. 2), used by the Christian father to demonstrate that the Sybil had “prophesied” the great Christian savior. Earlier, the “oracle” is evidently the subject of interest by Justin Martyr (Add. to Greeks, ch. 38). Church father Lanctantius (c. 240-c. 320) had likewise identified this verse to have been in Cicero, while Theophilus Antiochenus, Augustine, Origen and others insist that Varro discussed the oracular acrostic as well, also in pre-Christian times. This purported Sybilline Oracle has been dismissed as a Christian forgery, but this discussion raises a number of issues, whether or not the acrostic is forged. If it is forged, it demonstrates once again how dishonest were very many of the early Christian efforts.

As concerns this peculiar spelling, Χρειστός, Irenaeus uses it several times in his Against Heresies (15). The spelling of “Chreistos,” rather than “Christos,” may be an indication that it is Pagan, not Christian. The name “Jesus,” of course, was quite common in pre-Christian antiquity; for example, it can be found throughout the Septuagint, wherever the name “Joshua” appears  in the Old Testament, which is over 200 times. The phrase or concept of a or the “son of God” is likewise found abundantly in pre-Christian antiquity, in a variety of forms. For example, the Greek demigod Hercules was the son of Zeus, called “Father,” whose very name means “God” or “heavenly” (Dios). Soter or “Savior” was a common epithet in pre-Christian times, both within Paganism and Judaism.The title Soter or σωτὴρ, meaning “savior” or “deliverer,” appears dozens of times in the extant works of various ancient Greek writers, such as Aeschylus, in whose play Seven Against Thebes (520) the god Zeus is called Soter or “Savior.” The inclusion of the word Stauros or “Stave,” the exact term used for Christ’s object of execution, appears to be a Gnostic motif, as in the “Horos-Stauros” and “Jesus Stauros” of Gnosticism. This concept could be pre-Christian as well, as were many other Gnostic ideas, found in a variety of cultures, including the Egyptian, Greek, Jewish and Syrian.

All in all, if we suppose that the figure of “Jesus Christ” represents in large part a mixture of Old Testament “messianic prophecies” used via midrash as a blueprint for the awaited messiah, along with mystical ideas, spells, sacred names, puns, acrostics and so on within the Greek-speaking mystery schools and brotherhoods, it would not be entirely surprising if this Sybilline text genuinely pre-dated the supposed advent of Jesus of Nazareth and was later used in the creation thereof.

This word chreistos can also be found in the Codex Vaticanus. It comes from the same root as chrestos, and this alternate spelling evidently precedes the usage of the letter η or eta in Greek writing. The inscription accompanying this acrostic has nothing to do with Christianity [chk], a fact that would tend to confirm its pre-Christian origin.

Marcion’s Jesus the Good

Followers of “Jesus the Good” included the Marcionites, upon whose earliest extant church in Syria allegedly could be found that very phrase, Ἰησοῦς χρηστός, over the doorway, the oldest dated Christian inscription (October 1, 318 AD/CE). A contemporary of Justin, the “heretical” Gnostic-Christian Marcion of Pontus (fl. 150 AD/CE) was notorious for being anti-Judean, which may explain why he did not follow “Jesus the Messiah,” as is one translation of “Jesus the Christ.”

Some doubt has been cast on the Marcionite inscription, as it seems to have been lost. Kittel, et al. (1321), make a brief reference to it, but do not cite where it can be found. In consideration of the abundant existence of this word prior to and into the common era, as well as the focus of Marcion on the “Good God,” as opposed to the Demiurge, it would not surprise us at all if this “Jesus the Good” epithet was found within Marcionism.

In this regard, The Edinburgh Review (181.217) remarks:

Some sects called their sacred buildings synagogues. At Deir Aly (the ancient Lebabah), on Mount Hermon, a lintel-stone built in above a doorway in the Druse village preserves the memory of the famous heretic Marcion. The “Synagogue of the Marcionites” was here raised in 318 a.d., five years after the edit of toleration–that of Milan–by Paul the Presbyter, in honour of Jesus ChrEstos. Epiphanius says that in his time this sect existed in Rome and Italy, in Egypt, Palestine, Arabia and Syrian, in Cyprus and the Thebaid, in Persia and elsewhere. The text is older than any extant church, and terms the place of meeting a “synagogue.”

This journal cites the inscription as being published in “Inscriptions de la Syrie, No. 2558.” He then cites the inscription as reading: Συναγωγή Μαρκιωνιστων κώμ(ης) Λεβάβων του κ(υρίο)υ καί Σ(ωτή)ρ(ον) Ιησου Χρηστου προνοία Παύλου πρεβ(υτέρου) του λχ έτους. This text translates as: “The synagogue of the Marcionists, in the village of Lebaba, of the Lord and Savior Jesus Chrest [by the] forethought of Paul [a] presbyter in 630 year.” (Following Phoenicia.org; 630 represents the year of the Seleucid calendar.)

Warren cites this inscription as also discussed in “Smith and Wace, Dictionary of Christian Biography, iii. 819.” Another source, saying the site is south of Damascus, cites “Waddington, Inscriptions de la Syrie…Paris, 1870, no. 2558, p. 582.” The full title of the book is Inscriptions Grecques et Latines de la Syrie by William Henry Waddington (L’Erma di Bretschneider, 1870). The site of Deir Ali is some three miles south of Damascus: “The town was historically a village known as lebaba, and contains the archaeological remains of a Marcionite church. These remains includes an inscription dated to 318AD, which is the oldest known surviving inscribed reference, anywhere, to Jesus…” We are further informed that the co-author of the Syriac inscription book is Philippe Le Bas.

We also discover that some Manichaeans adopted this usage, “Jesus the Good” or Jesus Chrestos, as well. (See, e.g., Gardner, et al., Manichaean Texts from the Roman Empire, 167). There were many points of contact between Marcionism and Manichaeism.

Interestingly, although the extant manuscripts of the Church fathers of the second to third centuries possess the word “christos,” there appears to have been no inscriptions using the word “Christ” before the third century. Instead, we find “Chrest” and “Chreist.” Bennett (13) says that, at his time (1880), the “two earliest of all Christian inscriptions of known date are those which are numbered respectively 9727 and 9288; in the former the name occurs in the form of [XPHSTOUS], in the latter that of [XPEICTE].

“…the fact remains that during the first four centuries of our era it was the common practice of the Christians to write the name of their Master Chrest or Chreist, and to style themselves *Chrestiani*. That the non-Christian Gentiles were likewise in the habit of putting Chrest for Christ is extremely probable.”

The Gnostic amulet

In addition, in one of the catacombs at Rome appears an inscription that says “Jesus Good,” possibly either a “Gnostic amulet” or “early Christian symbol,” representing a “figure of an anchor, the upper part of which resembles the ansate cross, with the figures of two fishes, one on each side.” This confusion indicates the artifact may date from the period when Gnosticism and Christianity were not quite distinct, possibly dating to as early as the third century. [chk] This inscription uses the Greek letter ε or epsilon, rather than the η or eta of the word χρηστὸς. It should be noted, however, that these words are related, both having at root the meanings “use,” “need,” “debt” and “prophecy.”

The followers of “Jesus the Christ” would be more Jewish in their perception of this supernatural figurehead, the “Christ” being a common enough figure in the Old Testament, an epithet applied some 40 times to priests and kings, such as Saul, David and the Persian ruler Cyrus. Eventually these Judaizing “Christians” took charge of the Jesus movement, although not for centuries, as this “Chrestian” manuscript tradition attests.

Andrew Liddle on Hadrian’s letter:

…Hadrian could hardly have been referring to Greek-speaking Jews when he wrote of the Egyptian worshippers of Serapis. Besides, Chrestos was a title borne by Osiris; and, therefore, the probability is that the (Osirian) worshippers of Serapis called themselves “Chrestoi” – the “good folks,” or followers of the Good One.

J.M.W. notes:

iWhen the Greek conquerors of Egypt assimilated the old Osirian faith with the Greek worship of Hades in the worship of Serapis as Lord of the Underworld (the sun-spirit which, presiding over the destinies of the dead, assured their resurrection, similar to his own), Chrestos his title, as equivalent to the Egyptian *nofri*, or “excellent,” found on Egyptian tombs with the *crux ansata,* or sign life. Among Egyptians of the post-Ptolemaic period Chrestoi was equivalent to “the good, the justified.” Thus the of Serapis were Chrestoi, and Hadrian may originally so written it. But, as one-third of the inhabitants of Alexandria were Jews, it is likely that the play on words, which identified the worshippers of the “anointed” with the “good,” is earlier. Philo shows the eclecticism which was going on a century before Hadrian. The Therapeuts he describes were like the monks of Serapis, and they identified by Eusebius with the Christians. We find play on words in Romans xvi. 18, 1 Peter ii. 3, in Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria and Tertullian; all dated before the fourth century. The latter says (*Ad Nationes): “By a faulty pronunciation you call us Chrestians, and so utter the sense of pleasantness and goodness.” It was natural that tomb inscriptions should retain this older and more general form. No doubt the double tended both to popularise the Christian name and to modify the character of the faith. The letter of Hadrian indicates that in the second century Christianity was allied to, or had not entirely disengaged itself from, the Egyptian faith, and suggests that it dates rather from Alexandria than Jerusalem.

Horus the Chrestian

In the extant manuscripts, the New Testament overtly associates only God, not Jesus with the epithet Chrestos. Yet, the references to “Christ” in early NT manuscripts such as the Sinaiticus, for one, are made with a form of the monogram XP or XPS, and we know that it in pre-Christian times these abbreviations connoted chrestos. Therefore, it is possible that one or more of these chi-rho references in the NT in actually stood for Chrestos; one would submit that it made sense that all of them were, if such was the case. [where]

Theophilus’s discussion in Ad Autolycum (12) about the word “Christian”:

And about your laughing at me and calling me “Christian,” you know not what you are saying. First, because that which is anointed is sweet and serviceable, and far from contemptible. For what ship can be serviceable and seaworthy, unless it be first caulked [anointed]? Or what castle or house is beautiful and serviceable when it has not been anointed? And what man, when he enters into this life or into the gymnasium, is not anointed with oil? And what work has either ornament or beauty unless it be anointed and burnished? Then the air and all that is under heaven is in a certain sort anointed by light and spirit; and are you unwilling to be anointed with the oil of God? Wherefore we are called Christians on this account, because we are anointed with the oil of God. (Translation by Roberts, et al.)

The original Greek of this passage reads:

Theophili episcopi Antiochensis Libri tres ad Autolycum, 26

What Egyptologists say about Egypt’s role in Christian origins

In the contentious field of Christian origins, there remain those who – apparently absent of serious study of the subject – continue to insist unscientifically that Egypt, the massive culture that essentially dominated the Mediterranean for centuries, had little to no influence on Christianity.

As we know from the enormous amount of evidence I collected in my book Christ in Egypt, there are many parallels between the Egyptian religion and Christianity – some of them quite stunning. Those who have read my work also know that many Egyptologists themselves have noted these correspondences, and some of them were so certain of a relationship that they tried to prove the Egyptians had anticipated Christianity.

To argue against this idea represents ignorance of the subject matter, including the numerous opinions of these Egyptologists about supposed “Christian” ideas appearing in the Egyptian religion and mythology.

Here I will present a sampling of commentary by a number of well-known and respected Egyptologists (and others) dating from the present to the last couple of centuries.

Let me begin:

“…it is not improbable that even early Christian texts were influenced by ideas and images from the New Kingdom religious books.”

–Dr. Erik Hornung, The Valley of the Kings (9)

Renowned modern Egyptologist Dr. Erik Hornung, a professor of Egyptology at the University of Basel from 1967 to 1998, has been called “the world’s leading authority” on the ancient Egyptian religious texts.

At this point, need I really say more? Nevertheless, I will…

Another Egyptologist Dr. Siegfried Morenz, a director of the Institute of Egyptology at the University of Leipzig, is likewise to the point (Egyptian Religion, 251):

“The influence of Egyptian religion on posterity is mainly felt through Christianity and its antecedents.”

Furthermore, in his book The Secret Lore of Egypt: Its Impact on the West (73), Dr. Hornung summarizes:

Notwithstanding its superficial rejection of everything pagan, early Christianity was deeply indebted to ancient Egypt. In particular, the lively picture of the ancient Egyptian afterlife left traces in Christian texts; thus, among the Copts, and later in Islam, we encounter a fiery hell quite like that of the Egyptians… The descensus [descent] of Jesus, which played no role in the early church, was adopted into the official Credo after 359, thanks to apocryphal legends that again involved Egypt. Christ became the sun in the realm of the dead, for his descent into the netherworld had its ultimate precursor in the nightly journey of the ancient Egyptian sun god Re

I cited this Hornung book in Christ in Egypt over 40 times – there’s much more there about the relationship between Christianity and the Egyptian religion. Notice the subtitle: “Its Impact on the West” – the entire book is designed to demonstrate how Egypt influenced “the West,” i.e., Christendom.

As part of this impact on the West, which includes Rome, Hornung (SLE, 70) discusses the Egyptian religion’s inroads into the highest strata of Roman society during the time of the Christian effort:

Claudius was also positively disposed toward Egyptian religion, and Nero expressed interest in the sources of the Nile. Nero also had an Egyptian teacher, Chaeromon, who saw to the dissemination of Egyptian knowledge at Rome. According to Suetonius, Otho (69 C.E.) was the first Roman emperor to participate publicly in the cult of Isis. Notwithstanding his well-known stinginess, Vespasian dedicated a large statue of the Nile to Rome, after a Nile miracle occurred during his visit to Alexandria in the year 69. Together with his son Titus, he spent the night before their triumph over Judea (71 C.E.) in the temple of the Roman Isis, which was first depicted on Roman coins that year. Titus is probably the anonymous “pharaoh” depicted in front of the Apis bull in the catacombs of Kom el-Shuqafa in Alexandria. From the reign of Domitian on, Apis was represented on imperial coins.

There is much more about the Egyptian influence throughout the Roman Empire during the period in question, a substantial amount of which I provide in CIE.

In Death and Salvation in Ancient Egypt (115-6), respected German Egyptologist Dr. Jan Assman – a professor of Egyptology at the University of Heidelberg from 1976 to 2003, currently at the University of Konstanz – remarks:

“Salvation” and “eternal life” are Christian concepts, and we might think that the Egyptian myth can all too easily be viewed through the lens of Christian tradition. On the contrary, in my opinion, Christian myth is itself thoroughly stamped by Egyptian tradition, by the myth of Isis and Osiris, which from the very beginning had to do with salvation and eternal life. It thus seems legitimate to me to reconstruct the Egyptian symbolism with the help of Christian concepts. As with Orpheus and Eurydice, the constellation of Isis and Osiris can also be compared with Mary and Jesus. The scene of the Pieta, in which Mary holds the corpse of the crucified Jesus on her lap and mourns, is a comparable depiction of the body-centered intensity of female grief, in which Mary is assisted by Mary Magdalene, just as Isis is assisted by Nephthys. Jesus also descended into the realm of death, though he did not remain there… Osiris remained in the netherworld, but he was resurrected and alive…

Note the phrase “Christian myth” here. Dr. Assman appears to know what he is looking at.

Regarding the title of his article “The Baptism of the Pharaoh,” Sir Dr. Alan H. Gardiner, one of the “premier” British Egyptologists of his day, remarks:

The analogy of our rite to that of Christian baptism is close enough to justify the title given to this article. In both cases a symbolic cleansing by means of water serves as initiation into a properly legitimated religious life.

(Note the apologetic tone that even this highly regarded Egyptologist must make to NT scholars and theologians, so as not to offend the sensibilities of the faithful.)

To insist that such a correlation in important doctrine between these highly intertwined religious cults is either non-existent or unimportant ranks as unscientific.

In his book Akhenaten and the Religion of Light (13-14), in discussing earlier renowned Egyptologist Dr. James H. Breasted and amateur Egyptologist Sir Arthur Weigall, Hornung remarks:

…[Breasted] noted the modernity of Akhenaten’s teaching and its anticipation of Christian attitudes and beliefs

Arthur Weigall, the first biographer of this religious innovator, [said of Akhenaten] he established a “religion so pure that we must compare it to Christianity in order to discover its faults”… Weigall otherwise stresses that no other religion so closely resembles Christianity, and he compares the icon of the sun disk with its rays to the Christian cross and the Great Hymn to the Aten to Psalm 104…

…Thomas Mann…succumbed to the parallels with Christianity and attempted to categorize Akhenaten as an early Christ figure.

(Note that Hornung’s comment about Mann “succumbing” to Christian parallels concerns only the biographical material about Akhenaten, not the whole field of Christian origins vis-a-vis Egyptian religion, as his numerous other comments concerning associations demonstrate).

On p. 15, Hornung discusses Sigmund Freud:

…In his late work Moses and Monotheism, Sigmund Freud characterized Moses as an Egyptian who transmitted Akhenaten’s religion to the tribes of Israel, and even in Islam there are voices that lay claim to Akhenaten as a precursor.

As we can see, there is abundant precedent from numerous quarters suggesting Egyptian influence on Christianity (and its precursor Judaism). What’s this? Egyptologist Dr. Assman evidently concurs!

Assman suggests that the ancient Egyptian religion had a more significant influence on Judaism than is generally acknowledged.

Prior to this modern generation – and contributing immensely to modern scholars’ knowledge base – came the works of such pioneers as Sir Dr. E.A. Wallis Budge was a well-respected Egyptologist who ran the Department of Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities at the British Museum. Some of his work is naturally outdated, as much has happened since his time. This outdated material largely revolves around dictionaries and discoveries that have occurred in the past century. Budge’s work was voluminous, and his tackling of the Egyptian religion remains quite valuable. He is one of the scholars who was so astonished by the Egypto-Christian parallels that he thought the Christian religion was the fulfillment of the Egyptian promise.

Here is just one quote out of many that Budge made concerning the blatantly obvious correspondences between the Egyptian religion and Christianity (Egyptian Ideas of the Future Life, 48):

In Osiris the Christian Egyptians found the prototype of Christ, and in the pictures and statues of Isis suckling her son Horus, they perceived the prototype of the Virgin Mary and her Child. Never did Christianity find elsewhere in the world a people whose minds were so thoroughly well prepared to receive its doctrines as the Egyptians.

In Egyptian Tales and Romances (12), Budge states:

The Christian Trinity ousted the old triads of gods, Osiris and Horus were represented by our Lord Jesus Christ, Isis by the Virgin Mary, Set the god of evil by Diabolus [Satan]…and the various Companies of the Gods by the Archangels, and so on.

And again, we hear from Budge (The Gods of Egypt, I, xv-xvi):

…at the last, when [Osiris’s] cult disappeared before the religion of the Man Christ, the Egyptians who embraced Christianity found that the moral system of the old cult and that of the new religion were so similar, and the promises of resurrection and immortality in each so much alike, that they transferred their allegiance from Osiris to Jesus of Nazareth without difficulty. Moreover, Isis and the child Horus were straightway identified with Mary the Virgin and her Son, and in the apocryphal literature of the first few centuries which followed the evangelization of Egypt, several of the legends about Isis and her sorrowful wanderings were made to centre round the Mother of Christ. Certain of the attributes of the sister goddesses of Isis were also ascribed to her, and, like the goddess Neith of Sais, she was declared to possess perpetual virginity. Certain of the Egyptian Christian Fathers gave to the Virgin the title ‘Theotokos,’ or ‘Mother of God,’ forgetting, apparently, that it was an exact translation of neter mut, a very old and common title of Isis.

Budge continues (“The Cult of Isis and the Worship of the Virgin Mary compared,” Legends of Our Lady Mary, 1):

It has been well said that the Egyptians were better prepared to receive and accept Christianity than any of the nations round about them. For thousands of years before St. Mark came to Alexandria to preach the Gospel of his Master Christ, the Egyptians believed in Osiris the Man-god who raised himself from the dead. He was held to possess the power of bestowing immortality upon his followers because he had triumphed over Death, and had vanquished the Powers of Darkness. He was the Judge of souls and the supreme lord of the Judgment of the Dead; he was all-wise, all-knowing, all-just, and his decrees were final and absolute. No man could hope to dwell with him in his kingdom unless he had lived a life of moral excellence upon earth, and the only passports to his favour were truth-speaking, honest intent, and the observation of the commands of the Law (Maat), coupled with charity, alms-giving and humane actions…,

Here is yet another Egyptologist who points out Egyptian priority of “Judeo-Christian” concepts: Dr. Ogden Goelet, a professor of Egyptian language and culture at New York and Columbia Universities. In his well-known edition of (The Egyptian Book of the Dead, 18), Goelet states:

“The Book of the Dead promised resurrection to all mankind, as a reward for righteous living, long before Judaism and Christianity embraced that concept.”

To assert that Judaism and Christianity “embraced” the notion indicates Goelet believes the idea was passed along from the Egyptian religion to Judaism and Christianity.

In this same regard, Dr. James S. Curl, a professor emeritus at the Queen’s University of Belfast, remarks (The Egyptian Revival, 66):

The Christian religion, it might be proposed, owes as much to the Nile as it does to the Jordan, and for the Church Alexandria should be at least as important as Jerusalem (whereas Rome absorbed influences from both cities). In both Western and Eastern iconography the attributes of Isis survived. Coptic stelai show the Mother and Child, identified as Christian by the Greek crosses on either side of the head, but the basic iconography of the image is that of Isis and Horus, translated into Mary and Jesus….

(Curl is not an Egyptologist, but since he has a PhD he must be right, according to the “logic” of credentialists.)

In this same regard, another professional scholar, Dr. Richard A. Gabriel, concludes (Jesus the Egyptian, 2):

…the principles and precepts of the Osiran theology of Egypt are virtually identical in content and application to the principles and precepts of Christianity as they present themselves in the Jesus saga.

(Gabriel is a historian, so also by credentialist “logic,” we must believe him uncritically.)

Egyptologist Dr. Bojana Mosjov summarizes the Christian effort nicely, bringing it all back to Alexandria, which is, I contend, the crucible of Christianity (Osiris: Death and Afterlife of a God, xii):

It was in Roman Alexandria (30 BC-AD 394) that the new Christian religion blossomed, inspired by the writings of the Egyptian, Greek and Jewish philosophers.

As we can see, there is quite a bit of opinion by Egyptologists that Christianity was significantly influenced by the Egyptian religion. The debate can now be focused on how much influence upon Christianity there is and when it began. It is my contention that the Egyptian religion and mythology were utilized in the actual creation of Christianity, which, as Dr. Mosjov states, took place significantly at the Egyptian city of Alexandria, where Egyptian, Greek and Jewish precedents were utilized. Added to this Alexandrian crucible are Roman, Persian, Syrian, Indian and other European traditions.

Prison inmates request books by Acharya S/D.M. Murdock

Here is one of the funniest emails I have ever received – and, oddly enough, one of the most hopeful! I have removed the particulars, but you get the point. And if anyone wants to donate money so I can fulfill this person’s request, I’d greatly appreciate it. The message appears to be for real – I doubt it’s spam, because the person and organization check out, and the message is specific about “comparative and historical religion studies – I find the idea refreshing, although it cracks me up that THAT’s what the inmates are requesting!

In any case, if I don’t send books to this organization, you can be sure that your donations will be used for good purpose, since I am also in desperate need of upgraded office equipment, especially for moviemaking, which is something I’ve been doing lately.

The fact that inmates are requesting my information is extremely uplifting, for the reason that some of these individuals may be in the greatest need of knowing about a broader perspective of human religious, mythological, spiritual and philosophical traditions dating back thousands of years.

SUBJECT: Donations
FROM: ***
TO: acharya_s@yahoo.com
DATE: Thursday, December 22, 2011

Greetings,

I am writing to you today to see if you might be willing to donate any of your books, etc for use in our prison and jail ministry. We have had many requests for your books from inmates around the country who are Doing comparative and historical religion studies. Any help you might be able to give would be greatly welcomed. Thank you in advance

Joe Roche
Outreach Prison Ministry
233 Allen Dr
Braintree VT 05060

“Greetings, I am writing to you today to see if you might be willing to donate any of your books, etc for use in our prison and jail ministry. We have had many requests for your books from inmates around the country who are Doing comparative and historical religion studies. Any help you might be able to give would be greatly welcomed. Thank you in advance

Joe Roche
Outreach Prison Ministry
233 Allen Dr
Braintree VT 05060

“Few scholars question Jesus’ existence”

Over the years, many people have brought us an endless supply of credentialism, which is an argument that essentially claims only those with PhDs are worth listening to. This credentialist fallacy is often used when the subject of Jesus mythicism is raised.

I’ll start with a few quotes:

“Few scholars question Jesus’ existence”

“No serious historian believes that Jesus didn’t exist”

“I don’t know any serious scholar who questions the existence of Jesus”

“No serious scholar doubts the existence of Jesus as an historical figure”

“No serious ancient historian doubts that Jesus was a real person really living in Galilee in the first century”

“No serious scholar has ventured to postulate the non historicity of Jesus”

We’ve read or heard those or similar comments many times over the years but, sadly, it may be closer to the truth than you think, for it appears to be an unspoken requirement that New Testament scholars accept a historical Jesus. They assume that Jesus must have existed a priori and work from there without ever first substantiating the claim. Academia has allowed this to happen.

How can scholars be considered credible if they fail to ask the most basic questions? Theists claim god to be the omniscient, omnipresent, all powerful creator of the universe. So the burden of proof rests in theist hands yet, they’ve never substantiated their claims with credible evidence. If there were valid scientific evidence in support of supernatural religious claims, faith would not be the main requirement. After 2,000 years little has changed in that regard.

It’s important to realize that in the past one couldn’t obtain a Ph.D. without also studying religion. In fact many universities and colleges began as religious institutions or had seminaries attached to them such as for example; Harvard, Yale and Princeton.

It’s also very curious that it is not any sort of a requirement for a New Testament scholar to examine case for mythicism or the Mythicist Position in order to receive a PhD.

Just check any college or uni website by reading the “about,” “history” and Wiki page.

I have yet to see any serious investigation into how assorted religious institutions and organizations have influenced various theological courses with their funding, donations and other influences. And to what degree it continues to this very day.

Courses in theology, biblical and NT appear to be quite compartmentalized. As soon as one becomes skeptical of a historical Jesus, for example, they are suddenly written-off as “fringe.” They are looked down upon by the American Academy of Religion (AAR), Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) and others. The peer pressure keeping most scholars from speaking their minds questioning the status-quo is still there even today. It just demonstrates how out of balance academia still is to this day regarding religion. They assume, a priori, that Jesus must have existed and work from there without ever substantiating the claim first. Meanwhile, they have no problem accepting that Egyptian, Sumerian, Phoenician, Indian, Greek, Roman and other godmen, are all presently accepted as myths, rather than historical figures. So, they’re all mythicists EXCEPT when it comes to Jesus.

There remains an entire field of study with a mountain of evidence kept out of these courses which may help explain many gaps in our understanding. Those gaps are precisely what Acharya/Murdock’s work covers.

 

Religion and the Ph.D.: A Brief History
http://www.freethoughtnation.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=3110

Earliest Christian inscription confirms ‘Christ Conspiracy’

Researchers have identified what is believed to be the world’s earliest surviving Christian inscription, shedding light on an ancient sect that followed the teachings of a second-century philosopher named Valentinus.

Officially called NCE 156, the inscription is written in Greek and is dated to the latter half of the second century, a time when the Roman Empire was at the height of its power.

An inscription is an artifact containing writing that is carved on stone. The only other written Christian remains that survive from that time period are fragments of papyri that quote part of the gospels and are written in ink. Stone inscriptions are more durable than papyri and are easier to display. NCE 156 also doesn’t quote the gospels directly, instead its inscription alludes to Christian beliefs.

“If it is in fact a second-century inscription, as I think it probably is, it is about the earliest Christian material object that we possess,” study researcher Gregory Snyder, of Davidson College in North Carolina, told LiveScience. [See Images of Early Christian Inscriptions and Artifacts]

Snyder, who detailed the finding in the most recent issue of the Journal of Early Christian Studies, believes it to be a funeral epigram, incorporating both Christian and pagan elements. His work caps 50 years of research done by multiple scholars, much of it in Italian. The inscription is in the collection of the Capitoline Museums in Rome.

“Assuming that Professor Snyder is right, it’s clearly the earliest identifiable Christian inscription,” said Paul McKechnie, a professor of ancient history at Macquarie University in Australia, who has also studied the inscription.

As translated by Snyder, the inscription reads:

To my bath, the brothers of the bridal chamber carry the torches,
[here] in our halls, they hunger for the [true] banquets,
even while praising the Father and glorifying the Son.
There [with the Father and the Son] is the only spring and source of truth.

Details on the provenance of the inscription are sketchy. It was first published in 1953 by Luigi Moretti in the “Bullettino della commissione archeologica comunale di Roma,” an Italian archaeological journal published annually.

The only reference to where it was found is a note scribbled on a squeeze (a paper impression) of the inscription, Snyder said. According to that note, it was found in the suburbs of Rome near Tor Fiscale, a medieval tower. In ancient times, the location of the tower would have been near mile four of a roadway called the Via Latina.

How was it dated?

Margherita Guarducci, a well-known Italian epigrapher who passed away in 1999, proposed a second-century date for the inscription more than four decades ago. She argued that the way it was written, with a classical style of Greek letters, was only used in Rome during the first and second centuries.

After that, the letters change; for instance, the letter omega, Ω, changes into something closer to the letter w. The letter Sigma, Σ, changes into a symbol that resembles the letter c. [Inscription on Roman Gladiator’s Gravestone Reveals Fatal Foul]

Snyder essentially added more evidence to Guarducci’s theory. He analyzed a 1968 catalog of more than 1,700 inscriptions from Rome called “Inscriptiones graecae urbis Romae.” He found 53 cases of Greek inscriptions with classical letterforms.

“Not one case is to be found in which, in the judgment of the [catalog]editors, an inscription with the classical letter forms found in NCE 156can be securely placed in the mid-third or fourth century,” Snyder wrote in his paper.

In addition, Snyder analyzed an inventory of inscriptions from nearby Naples, published in a series of two volumes in the 1990s called “Iscrizioni greche d’Italia.” He found only two examples that might date into the third century. “In sum, Guarducci’s case for a second-century date for NCE 156 is stronger than ever,” he wrote.

McKechnie said that, after reviewing Snyder’s work, he agrees with the date. “The first time I read his article I was far from sure, but the second time I read it I was convinced by his argument about the letter shape.”

Valentinus

The author of the inscription likely followed the teachings of a man named Valentinus, an early Christian teacher who would eventually be declared a heretic, Snyder said. The presence of the inscription suggests that a community of his followers may have lived on the Via Latina during the second century.

“We know that Valentinus was a famous Gnostic teacher in the second century (who) lived in Rome for something like 20 years, and was a very sophisticated … poetic, talented, thinker, speaker, writer.”

His teachings are believed to be preserved, to some degree, in the Gospel of Philip, a third-century anthology that was discovered in 1945 in the town of Nag Hammadi in Egypt. That gospel is a collection of gnostic beliefs, some of which were probably composed in the second century, that are written in a cryptic manner. However, like the inscription, it also refers prominently to a “bridal chamber.”

One example, near the end of the gospel, reads in part:

The mysteries of truth are revealed, though in type and image. The bridal chamber, however, remains hidden. It is the Holy in the Holy. The veil at first concealed how God controlled the creation, but when the veil is rent and the things inside are revealed, this house will be left desolate, or rather will be destroyed. And the whole (inferior) godhead will flee from here, but not into the holies of the holies, for it will not be able to mix with the unmixed light and the flawless fullness, but will be under the wings of the cross and under its arms…

(Translation by Wesley Isenberg)

“It’s not quite clear what it [the bridal chamber] is, it’s explained to some degree, but explained in cryptic terms in the Gospel of Philip, it’s a ritual involving freedom and purification and union with the deity,” McKechnie said.

Perhaps rather than an actual ritual, the bridal chamber is a metaphor.

“It may be a metaphor for something that happens in death — maybe it’s a kind of ritual that happens when people are still alive. That you achieve a new kind of existence or spiritual status based on this kind of wedding with your spiritual ideal counterpart,” Snyder said. [Top 10 Weird Ways We Deal With the Dead]

“Some groups may have celebrated it as a concrete ritual, others perhaps sawit in metaphorical terms. I like the idea that it is connected with the death of the believer, who has cast off the mortal coil and enjoys a new life in the spirit,” he added in a follow-up email.

But there were some important differences between Valentinians and other early Christians. “Valentinians in particular, and gnostics more generally, most of them wouldn’t, for example, get martyred,” McKechnie said. “They wouldn’t think it was wrong or unlawful to do the things that Christian martyrs refused to do, like take an oath in the name of Caesar or offer incense to a statue or that kind of thing.”

The reason for their lack of bias has to do with the Valentinians’ beliefs about all things physical. “They believed that not only matter and the physical world was evil, but also that matter and the physical world was unimportant,” McKechnie said. “Therefore, it was unimportant what you or what your body did in the physical world.”

“It’s mostly about the world of the mind.”

Valentinians were also likely influenced by earlier Greek philosophers such as Plato, Snyder has found, though he doesn’t think they would have interpreted the story of the resurrection of Jesus in a literal way.

It’s certainly not the case that they would have considered that to be a physical resurrection,” he said. “Christians of this particular variety (who incorporated Plato’s philosophy) generally speaking saw the material body as something not so desirable, not so good.”

Christian and pagan

When analyzing the inscription, Snyder also noticed some similarities with funeral epigrams composed for non-Christians. In those inscriptions, the wedding imagery is used in a tragic way. [After Death: 8 Burial Alternatives Going Mainstream]

One example, written about 2,100 years ago, reads in part:

I am Theophila, short-lived daughter of Hecateus. The ghosts of the unmarried dead were courting me, a young maiden, for marriage, Hades outstripped the others and seized me, for he desired me, looking upon me as a Persephone more desirable than Persephone. And when he carved the letters on her tombstone, he wept for the girl Theophila from Sinope, her father Hecateus, who composed the wedding torches not for marriage but for Hades…

(Translation by Gregory Snyder)

“Typically, that wedding imagery is tragic,” said Snyder. “Here’s the promising young person entering into the prime of life, suddenly snatched away, and betrothed, married to Hades.”

What the second-century Christian inscription does is turn this convention on its head. “They’re playing with that… it’s not decline, it’s looking forward to a new life.”

Snyder said that the mix of Christian and pagan traditions in the inscription is striking. He told LiveScience that he’s studied early Christian paintings on the Via Latina that mix biblical themes, such as the story of Samson or the raising of Lazarus, along with figures from classical mythology, like that of Hercules.

“Those kinds of things I find particularly interesting, because they seem to suggest a period of time in which a Christian identity is flexible,” Snyder said. “Is it just a simple either/or between pagan and Christian?” he asked. “Or is there really something rather like a spectrum? Or are you really sort of both in certain respects?”

Bible’s transmission ‘messier and more human than most of us imagine’

Scholars seek to correct ‘mistakes’ in Bible

But the ongoing work of the academic detectives of the Bible Project, as their undertaking is known, shows that this text at the root of Judaism, Christianity and Islam was somewhat fluid for long periods of its history, and that its transmission through the ages was messier and more human than most of us imagine.

 

 

Japanese origins of “biblical” traditions?

In researching for the upcoming revision of my book The Christ Conspiracy, I have come across the following fascinating tidbits. I’m still working out all the details, but I had to share this much. Some of the information, such as the DNA studies, is confusing still. What linguistic and certain DNA studies have demonstrated, however, is that the ancient Japanese, the Jomon or pre-Jomon culture, is related to Native Americans. The linguistic connection seems to exist between ancient Japanese and the New Mexican Zuni tribe in particular, although rumor has it that at least one isolated “Otomi” tribe in Mexico also speaks “ancient Japanese.” Interestingly, one of the Japanese groups that share the same DNA marker (haplogroup D1) with Native Americans is that of pre-Ainu population in Northern Japan, found at the site of Funadomari in Hokkaido.

The earliest peoples in the Hokkaido region appear to have arrived some 40,000 years ago from Siberia, with other waves from the Asian mainland at different times, including some 15,000 years ago, while the Jomon arrival is dated to around 20,000 BCE. It has been theorized that the ancient Japanese DNA ended up in North America through multiple waves of shipwrecked Japanese sailors over a period of thousands of years, via the “Black Current,” which may have taken ships all the way up the coast of Asia and down the coast of the Americas, possibly as far or further than Ecuador, where there appears to be Jomon pottery sherds. This thesis has been developed in particular by Smithsonian anthropologist Dr. Betty Meggers.

In any event,

Islamic jihad is great for atheism

The rise of “political,” “radical” or “extreme” (fundamentalist) Islam globally is making strange bedfellows that in the end will likely be of tremendous benefit to one of the most hated minorities on the planet: Atheists.

Although I do not call myself either a theist or atheist, as I reserve the right to entertain whatever thought I deem appropriate at whatever moment – what I consider true “freethought” – I am highly sympathetic to atheistic thinking under a variety of circumstances. Indeed, I consider atheistic thought quite natural and appropriate in response to various events, such as atrocities.

As one example, I recall a news item some years ago about a tornado that hit an American church, inside which many people had taken refuge. A woman was relating that her young and innocent son, a child of about six, had asked her why God had sent a tornado to destroy the church. In her evident insecurity to defend God, the woman immediately shut down his intelligent and probing thought processes by responding, “Oh, God didn’t send the tornado – he stopped it!”

Such a platitudinous response must be very confusing for a young mind that is being taught there is an invisible, giant, all-powerful anthropomorphized male God somewhere “out there” who is in charge of everything! If God didn’t send the tornado, then, who did? The typical response is “Satan!” But that simplistic answer begs the question of who created Satan, which of course would be God, and why God just can’t get the better of Satan, since the Lord of the Cosmos is supposedly omnipotent. The child’s questioning of this God concept – a type of atheistic thinking – was entirely appropriate and should have been encouraged, rather than suppressed, as is what happened. It is a shame that child may never again entertain such a penetrating thought.

In the meantime, for some bizarre reason evidently based on centuries and millennia of being bludgeoned by such fearful responses, such rational, logical and appropriate thinking has led to those who engage in it – often calling themselves “atheists” – to be feared and reviled worldwide. This irrational and nonsensical reaction of hatred is expressed on a daily basis around the globe in many venues, from the pulpit to the op-ed pieces in major media. In this regard, several studies over the years have found that atheist are, in fact, the “most feared and reviled minority.” As remarked by the authors of the article “Atheists As ‘Other’: Moral Boundaries and Cultural Membership in American Society” (American Sociological Review, v. 71 (April, 2006), p. 211):

Despite the declining salience of divisions among religious groups, the boundary between believers and nonbelievers in America remains strong. This article examines the limits of Americans’ acceptance of atheists. Using new national survey data, it shows atheists are less likely to be accepted, publicly and privately, than any others from a long list of ethnic, religious, and other minority groups. This distrust of atheists is driven by religious predictors, social location, and broader value orientations. It is rooted in moral and symbolic, rather than ethnic or material, grounds. We demonstrate that increasing acceptance of religious diversity does not extend to the nonreligious, and present a theoretical framework for understanding the role of religious belief in providing a moral basis for cultural membership and solidarity in an otherwise highly diverse society.

Obviously, this kneejerk reaction is based not on reality but on superstition, as if the mere belief in God makes someone a better person and more trustworthy. This contention is patently false, as there have been many God-believers who have been absolutely immoral reprobates – quite evil, in fact.

Here is not the place for a debate as to whose bogeyman is scarier, the theist’s or the atheist’s, such as in examples of evil individuals that may be raised to defend or attack either position. Suffice it to say that any number of names are tossed about in this debate as to whether theism or atheism is more responsible for atrocity, including Charles Manson as a murderous religious believer and Jim Jones as a dangerous cult leader, to Joseph Stalin, Hitler and Pol Pot as examples of perilous atheism. The Inquisition or Communism? Those are two of the more basic examples raised when arguing the merits and flaws of theism and atheism.

Interestingly, this Great Divide, which flourishes even in the face of greater freedoms and better methods of communication and education, such as the internet, may be significantly reduced because of the rise and spread of fundamentalist Islam. Indeed, even though I am a Christian apostate and criticize all religious pathology, including Christianity and Judaism – two expressions of an intolerant Abrahamic monotheism that has caused tremendous grief on this planet – it has been my declaration for many years that, if push comes to shove, I will side with Christianity against Islam. I began studying the global situation decades ago vis-a-vis religious fanaticism, and I knew that we were bound to see increasing problems with the fostering of Islamic supremacy in our midst.

In my efforts to keep the infidel-hating and woman-subjugating cult of male domination at bay, I have been inclusive of the Judeo-Christian community, while its members have been uneasy with my overtures, to say the least! It should be understood, however, that my efforts at finding out what has really happened on planet Earth are not attempts at making atheists of everyone. I personally am not interested in mind control, and what you do in the privacy of your own head is none of my business. If you want to climb a mountain and ponder a glorious God in heaven, go ahead, if it makes you feel better and more inspired to be alive. If, on the other hand, you hear about an atrocity and question how any good God could possibly be in charge, feel free to do that as well, as I find such thinking at such times to be entirely appropriate.

So, I personally do not have any problem aligning myself with my former cultmates (recall that I am a Christian apostate) or with others against the global encroachment of a dangerous ideology that has especially me, as a woman, in its sights. My critiques of Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism, for example, do not mean that I am going to attack anyone personally or attempt to ban all religion. On the contrary, I thoroughly enjoy religion, from a distance, as a fascinating cultural artifact that can be studied for what it has brought to the human experience. I am, however, a mythicist, meaning I view supernatural tales to be mythical motifs and the individuals about whom they are told to be largely if not wholly mythical. Deeming something as “myth,” however, does not mean that I dismiss it. Indeed, I seek to discover the meaning behind it and then relish its creators, if said meaning is profound enough for my taste.

In any event, getting to my point: In the face of global onslaught by Islamic fundamentalism, many religionists are finally recognizing that they will simply HAVE to align themselves with the nonreligious, i.e., atheists, agnostics and freethinkers, in order to address this increasingly distressing problem. As but one example of this interesting, if cool, “welcome” in the following story we actually find a Christian pastor encouraging atheists to put up billboards in order to compete with Muslim proselytizing! When in history would that sort of encouragement ever have occurred previously?

It’s a great sign of things to come, including a greater acceptance of atheistic input in the public arena. As a freethinker might say, “To each his own, so long as it doesn’t spill out onto me in a negative fashion.” If all children can see that they are allowed to ponder religious beliefs AND to have doubts, we will be raising a much healthier future citizenry.

I predict such alliances will continue to increase. In my case, please recall that while I am a skeptic, I am not interested in castigating individuals for what they do in the privacy of their own minds; hence, a nonfanatical believer who is not trying to force others into his or her viewpoint need not feel threatened personally by casting lots with me in exposing the dangers of religious fanaticism, e.g., Islamic fundamentalism.

“The bishop said he would pay for billboards to counter those of MyPeace if he could afford it, and ‘maybe the atheists should run their billboards as well.'”

He’s not the son of God, just the support act

CHRISTIANS in Sydney will have their core beliefs challenged by provocative advertisements due to appear on billboards and buses in the next month.

The ads, paid for by an Islamic group called MyPeace, will carry slogans such as ”Jesus: a prophet of Islam”, ”Holy Quran: the final testament” and ”Muhammad: mercy to mankind”.

A phone number urges people to call to receive a free Koran and other Islamic literature.

The organiser of MyPeace, Diaa Mohamed, said the campaign was intended to educate non-Muslims about Islam. He said Jesus was a prophet of Islam, who was to come before Muhammad. ”The only difference is we say he was a prophet of God, and they say he is God,” Mr Mohamed said. ”Is it thought-provoking? Yes, it is. We want to raise awareness that Islam believes in Jesus Christ,” he said.

Mr Mohamed said he hoped the billboards would encourage Christians and Muslims to find common ground. They were not intended to downgrade the significance of Jesus. ”We embrace him and say that he was one of the mightiest prophets of God.”

MyPeace plans to extend the campaign, funded by private donations, to television.

The Anglican Bishop of South Sydney, Rob Forsyth, said it was ”complete nonsense” to say Jesus was a prophet of Islam. ”Jesus was not the prophet of a religion that came into being 600 years later.”

But the billboard was not offensive, he said. ”They’ve got a perfect right to say it, and I would defend their right to say it [but] … you couldn’t run a Christian billboard in Saudi Arabia.”

The bishop said he would pay for billboards to counter those of MyPeace if he could afford it, and ”maybe the atheists should run their billboards as well”….

Hemp is busting out all over!

This is SO cool to see this in a major newspaper!

Hemp is busting out all over.  Yeeha!

In case you’re wondering, I’ve been a hemp activist for over 20 years. Somewhere on Youtube, in a compilation video there’s a clip of me standing up at a press conference for Jerry Brown when he was running for president in 1992, asking him about hemp. I met Hemperor Jack Herer on several occasions and passed out many a hemp flier back in the day.

It is beyond satisfying to see this finally happening in my lifetime!

Garbage, sawdust and hemp may fuel your car one day

Fueling up your car may one day be as easy as cleaning out the refrigerator or taking out the trash, according to Edmunds.com.

Here’s a list of some of the innovations in alternative fuels being researched:

• Garbage: Waste Management Inc. is liquefying and purifying landfill gas to fuel trucks, so the method is already in use. Producing liquid gas reduces emissions — and the stink.

• Soybeans and animal fats: Soybeans, vegetable oil and animal fats can be used to make clean, nontoxic diesel fuel. Diesel engines need few or no modifications to accommodate this biodiesel fuel.

• Sawdust: The lumber industry generates thousands of tons of sawdust each year. An add-on wood “gasifier” allows the dust to fuel the automobile.

• Corn: E85 flex-fuel engine vehicles run on E85 ethanol, most, if not all, of which is derived from corn. Right now, E85 is slightly less potent and more expensive, but it has potential. Many consider corn ethanol to be environmentally harmful, however, which is an obvious obstacle in the way of becoming more mainstream.

• Hemp: Fermented oils of hemp seeds or stalks can be used to create a biodiesel fuel that is both cheap and efficient. The plant can also be fermented to make ethanol.

• Air: Currently, high-pressure compressed air storage tanks exist to fill tires, but on a larger scale it could run cars. With the right tanks, this could be the most widely available and cleanest fuel yet.

• Sun: An annual solar-powered car race in Australia proves that this type of automobile can be functional. The spatula-shaped cars aren’t what we currently consider aesthetically pleasing, but fashion is known to change.

• Algae: Algal fuels can take the forms of biodiesel and bioethanol. Farmers require less land space than crop-based sources and only ocean or wastewater to grow and cultivate algae.

• Bacteria: Scientists can genetically engineer microbes to make the “output” chemically identical to crude oil, which can be sent to refineries to produce gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and tar. The process is complicated but entirely possible.

— Edmunds.com